By Sister Mary Mulholland
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! For me St. Patrick’s Day is a day I celebrate my own cultural heritage, for both my parents were born in Ireland in Westport, County Mayo. I love that bit of Irish in my background, and I am sure each of us cherishes our own heritage from the many countries that make up our history.
But on St. Patrick’s Day we also celebrate our common link to Ireland in Mercy—our connection with Catherine McAuley, beloved founder of the Sisters of Mercy, who was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Catherine was touched deeply by the needs of the poor, the sick and those without life skills there, and she attracted others to work with her as well—and so began the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy!
Catherine used an inheritance she received to build the House of Mercy on Baggot Street in Dublin in 1827. Catherine, after being professed as a sister in 1831, then founded the Sisters of Mercy. As the community grew, Catherine and her sisters responded to needs all over Ireland and beyond. Mercy International Association, which is housed there at the Baggot Street House of Mercy, tells us that the Sisters of Mercy are now in over 40 countries across the globe!
This is a very short version of Catherine’s story—a great woman with great trust and confidence in God, a loving heart and spirit and a great sense of humor. As the sisters moved off to the new foundations, we read that Catherine kept in touch with them by visiting when she could, but mostly by writing letters to them to encourage and support them. One we often recall was when she told them to “dance every evening.”
So this St. Patrick’s Day let your hearts (and your legs, too, if you wish) dance to the rhythm of God’s merciful love and goodness within you!
Blessings na Féile Pádraig agus áthas a mise!
Enjoy this festive hymn, “Hail Glorious St. Patrick”: