At St Mary’s College our aim is to keep alive the vision of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy and to give it practical expression. We do this by imbedding the qualities of Mercy into our curriculum, our Pastoral Care Program and our policies and procedures.
More specifically we celebrate Mercy Week at the end of Term Three each year where each day is given over to a variety of activities which allow us to honour and explore what we have identified as the five ‘pillars’ of the Mercy charism: Spirituality, Community, Hospitality, Education and Mission.
The word ‘mercy’ appears again and again in the scriptures and its meaning is always much richer than simply referring to forgiveness. In fact, it is really a synonym for ‘grace’ – the life of God which is freely given to those who trust in him. More than this, it is often used to highlight the power of God to heal us, to help us become the best we can be.
In fact, St Luke tells us that Mary praised God for everything he had done for her with the words “He has looked with mercy on my lowliness.” Mary, who was no sinner, nevertheless understood that God’s mercy was the source and sustainer of her strength.
It is no wonder that Catherine McAuley chose Mary as the patroness of her sisters under the title ‘Mother of Mercy’ and that the refuge she established at Baggott Street opened its doors on the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, 24 September, 1827. Catherine wanted to bring God’s mercy to the world. She wanted to access the healing power of grace so that the poor and marginalised could have some chance of becoming the people God intended them to be.
Apart from hospitals and schools, the Sisters of Mercy are at work in a plethora of ministries, from providing leadership in parishes and missions to speaking out at the United Nations on questions of poverty, education and ecology. Wherever they are, the sisters, by their actions and words and supremely by their vision, proclaim the mercy of God – his power to make our wounded world whole.
Although there are no longer Sisters of Mercy at St Mary’s College, we have inherited their vision and we share their mission.
Mercy is a heart suffering over the sufferings of others.Thomas Aquinas