The Call of the North
A History of the Sisters of Mercy
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The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Belfast from Dublin in 1854 at a time when, in the wake of the devastating Famine, the town’s industrial growth was beginning to present the range of social problems that would become all-too-common.
From the outset, the Sisters threw themselves into the educational and social work for which they would soon become renowned. They concerned themselves primarily with the care of females, particularly their education as a means of helping them escape from overpowering poverty.
From their arrival, the Sisters became fully involved in the Works of Mercy in Down and Connor Diocese and, in later years, in the missions in Nigeria and Iceland. The apostolates of the Sisters were in education, in all its aspects, in nursing and in all forms of social work.
The recent sesquicentenary in 2004 was a timely opportunity to recognise and pay due homage to the enormous significance of the social and counselling role of these ‘walking nuns’ over the last 150 years.
Author: Sister Marie Duddy
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