Mercy Beginnings in Great Britain

Catherine McAuley opened the first Convent of Mercy in England at Bermondsey, London in 1839. “The six travellers leave dear Ireland tomorrow: all in tolerable good health and more than tolerable spirits.”

(Catherine to Frances Warde 19 November 1839)

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At the invitation of Bishop Thomas Walsh of Birmingham, Catherine agreed to a foundation in Birmingham. On 21 August 1841 Catherine, accompanied by Juliana Hardman and her three Professed companions and two Postulants: Sister Angela Borini, later Foundress of Nottingham and Oldham, Sister Mary Liguori Gibson, Foundress of Liverpool and Sister Mary Magdalene Polding, with Sister Mary Cecilia Marmion, Novice Mistress from Baggot Street. This was to be Catherine’s final foundation.  She died two months later on the 11 November 1841 in Baggot Street.

So Catherine fulfilled her light-hearted remark:

“… I’ll then have a Sea-Saw Dance to Liverpool and a Merry Jig that has no stop to Birmingham.” 

(Catherine to M de Sales 20 December 1840)