Thank You Letter To Catherine McAuley

Dear Catherine

I write this letter to you to say thank you!

We are so grateful to you, for what we know as Mercy today. Without you opening the House of Mercy in Dublin in September 1827, we may not exist. We are a thriving school community educating girls in the Mercy tradition. 

Our Story
We have 1290 Mercy girls who we have shared your legacy and story with. Today is Mercy Day, and each year we celebrate this day with a Mass and activities in recognition of you, our foundress. We also celebrate the Sisters of Mercy who have committed their lives to make us the College we are today.

Service plays an important part in our community. It builds on your work and the Sisters commitment to ensure that women and children are protected, safely housed, educated and empowered with skills that help to restore their dignity and open up employment opportunities. We have many service opportunities on offer for our girls.

You were a deeply spiritual woman with a highly developed sense of social justice, and I hope that our girls will be inspired by your story to take action to help others.

Some of the things that we admire about you are :

  • You showed great courage and were brave, and I give the example of when you established the House of Mercy for the poor and homeless in an affluent area of Dublin.
  • You went out into the community with your fellow Sisters and cared for others, which is why you were called ‘The Walking Nuns.’
  • You identified talented young women as future leaders and showed great trust in them, enabling young Sisters to set up new foundations of Mercy across Ireland.
  • You always showed kindness and compassion to all you met each day, particularly the sick and vulnerable.
  • You were graceful and composed always being considered in your response, which is shown through the many letters you wrote, enabling us to understand you.
  • You listened to others when they were troubled or needed advice.

I hope we can:

  • Have faith and trust in God, as you did, as the basis of our actions and decisions.
  • Live by the Gospel values and our special Mercy values of Hospitality, Compassion, Justice, Service, and Excellence, that are so dear to the Sisters of Mercy.
  • Understand that we all have a responsibility to make a difference in the world, even just in small ways.
  • Follow your teaching, that to feel compassion is good but to feel compassion and take action is better.
  • Act because ‘the poor need help today, not next week’.
  • Live by your hope that we will ‘be good today, but better tomorrow.’

Catherine, I sincerely thank you for being such a remarkable woman who we can model ourselves on. Rest assured your legacy is safe with the staff and students of  Santa Maria College.

Yours in Mercy
Jennifer Oaten

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