Mercy Then and Now — Sister Eloise Rosenblatt and Mercy for Women

Treasuring Our Heritage

When Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831, she envisioned the education of girls as a means to spread Christian values and effect social change. “No work of charity,” she wrote “can be more productive of good to society or more conducive to the happiness of the poor than the careful instruction of women."

It was this same mission and dedication to women that compelled the sisters to establish the Academy of the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia in 1861, known today as Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School.

Eventually, the Academy relocated to its current campus in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, where the Sisters converted stables into classrooms. In April 1955, construction of the elementary and secondary schools was completed and the Academy of Mercy of the Sisters of Mercy became Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School.

Over the years, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School has evolved its programs in response to changing needs, but the core values of instilling a spirit of service and providing for the “careful instruction of women” remain unchanged.

Embracing Our Future

This mission of Mercy to empower women has continued in education and expanded into many other areas of life where women face violence, oppression and obstacles. Sister Eloise Rosenblatt spent decades teaching women in high schools and colleges and now works as an attorney specializing in family law:

I deal with the reality of physical, sexual, emotional, and financial violence as part of my work as a family lawyer. We will better dedicate ourselves to non-violence when we engage the experiences women have--as individuals, and as a sisterhood-- of gender violence, verbal and rhetorical violence, economic and political violence, ethnic violence, environmental violence, and the long-term traumatic effect of being cast as second-class persons in society, the workplace, and the church. Non-violence is not a dedication we undertake for “them.” The violence we resist is what we acknowledge we ourselves have suffered as Mercy women. The needs of women and children will always be the same—safety, shelter, food, a job, education, healthcare-- but the context will be ever-changing We press forward, we struggle, we risk, we speak up, we advocate for alternatives.”