Mary C. Sullivan
Catherine McAuley was born into a wealthy Dublin family in 1778. By the time she reached adulthood, she had witnessed the death of both parents and experienced considerable personal poverty. She then worked for twenty years as a companion for an elderly couple and, upon their deaths, received an unexpected inheritance.
Driven by a deep faith and pragmatic sense of charity, she opened, in 1827, an institution for unemployed and impoverished women. This proved to be the first step toward the foundation, in 1831, of the Sisters of Mercy, an order now established throughout the world. Catherine McAuley was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1990.
The present volume, a collection of some of the most important writings by and about Catherine McAuley, includes letters, memoirs, and annals by many of the first Sisters of Mercy and McAuley’s original manuscript of the Rule and Constitutions of the order, critically edited for the first time.
“Mary Sullivan has made accessible to the historian of nineteenth-century women’s history, and indeed the general reader with a special interest in Catherine McAuley, a rich mine of documentary material. And most significantly, her work on the development of Constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy is an important seminal contribution to the study of Catherine McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy, and the development of religious life at that time.” —Sophie McGrath, Journal of Religious History
“The most attractive aspect of this work is its fidelity to the unfolding of a religious movement from a single charasmatic figure to the flowering of a world-wide mission of Mercy.” —Una Agnew, Irish Theological Quarterly