About the Sisters of Mercy

Mercy by the Sea’s roots stretch back to Ireland when a 53-year-old, passionate and determined Irish woman, Catherine McAuley (September 29, 1778 – November 11, 1841), established a home for poor women and children.  Like many today, she began with an idea and a commitment to do the right thing by people who did not have a voice.

In the 19th century, life was neither easy nor secure for a Catholic woman with a righteous cause in a country dominated by Protestants and men.  Catherine never intended to become a nun or start an order, but difficult circumstances led her to ask church officials for support.  In doing this, she not only became a sister but founded a religious community.

Catherine died on November 11, 1841.  On April 9, 1990, Pope John Paul II declared Catherine McAuley Venerable in recognition of her holy life, her love of God and her merciful work among the poor.  This is a major step toward naming her a saint.  Visit the Mercy International Association’s website for more information on Catherine’s beatification.

Today, there are more than 2,900 Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, who continue Catherine’s mission of serving the needs of the poor in North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Guam and the Philippines.

Building on Catherine’s enduring example of service and hospitality, Mercy by the Sea is a retreat and conference center that supports individuals’ exploration of a new way of being and practices that deepen one’s relationship with self, others and all of creation.