Mercy Then and Now — Sister Carol Jussaume and Mercy Education
Treasuring Our Heritage
The Most Reverend William J. Quarter was appointed the first Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago in 1843, and in 1846 he invited the Sisters of Mercy to minister in the growing city.
These Mercy Sisters—led by Mother Frances Warde—were the first, and only, congregation of women religious in Chicago for ten years. They wasted no time as they began free schools the morning after they arrived in Chicago, and later in 1846, they established Chicago’s first Catholic university, St. Francis Xavier Female Academy—which today is known as St. Xavier University.
Embracing Our Future
This ministry of education has continued and enriched the lives of so many across the United States. Sister Carol Jussaume, RSM has been teaching at St. Mary Academy – Bay View in Providence, Rhode Island for decades and her love of teaching embodies the Mercy charism to her students:
"Teaching is the thing that I’ve loved the most. My heart is really here at Bayview, and that’s because of the girls. The girls are such life-giving presences in my life. But I also feel that I’m a life-giving presence for them. For me, that is really what it means to be a Sister of Mercy, to take what I hold and what I cherish, that I feel is so important for the world, and help our students to integrate it into their lives, so that when they leave here, they carry Mercy values with them. We’re forming women for the future who can help to shape society, and that for me is what Mercy is about. Learning compassion, learning about social justice, learning about that sense that we have to care for our brothers and sisters.”