The Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy began in Dublin on 12th December 1831 by Catherine McAuley and two companions Mary Anne Doyle and Elizabeth Harley. Its objectives were:
- The relief and education of the poor
- The care of the sick
- Provision of shelter for homeless girls and women
These were the social issues of the time which needed urgent attention
As a congregation, the Sisters of Mercy were unique
- From the outset, they were not bound by enclosure and were fondly termed 'walking nuns'
- In addition to the three evangelical counsels of Poverty, chastity and Obedience, they took a 'fourth vow' for the service of the poor, the sick and those in need
- Their system of government was completely autonomous
EXPANSION OF THE ORDER
There was an amazing and rapid expansion of the congregation within the first ten years. Foundations were made across Ireland; two were made in England and plans were made for the establishment of a Convent of Mercy in Newfoundland before the early death of the Foundress on 11th November 1841.
THE SISTERS BECOME ESTABLISHED IN WEYMOUTH
The Weymouth Community had its foundational roots in Aldeburgh, Suffolk under Sister Mary Francis Boulger from Abingdon. By the beginning of World War II the Government was requisitioning land along the East coast of England and the sisters therefore moved to Cullompton in Devon. Meanwhile the Swanage Convent of Mercy (which had been founded from Hull in 1935) established a branch house at Weymouth on 3rd October 1938, with the Presbytery at Dorchester Road being a temporary home for four sisters.
The sisters moved to their present site at 74 Wyke Road on 2nd January 1940. After the early death of Sister Mary Francis Boulger, the remainder of the Cullompton community joined the Sisters at Wyke road. Weymouth operated as a branch house of Swanage until 1st December 1950, when it became an independent community.
The sisters of Mercy have always been involved in education in Weymouth, first at Walpole Street and later when the school moved to its present site at Hardy Avenue in 1964. For many years there were schools in the grounds of the convent catering for infant and junior girls and boys and providing secondary education for girls.
The main work of the Weymouth sisters has been Parish catechesis, Liturgy Involvement, visiting the sick the sick and elderly in their own homes, the Eucharistic Ministry and the involvement with the prisons in this area. In these latter years, there has been the growth of the Mercy Associates who work alongside the Sisters in many ministries and services to the needy in the town.
ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS AT THE CONVENT
The Convent Chapel is always available for prayer and visits. Those in distress who need a quiet space, sick parishioners and their friends, or generally those who wish to drop in for a listening ear.
Regular activities that take place at the Convent are set out below.
|First Sunday of the Month||Mercy Associates Meeting at 2.30 pm|
|Tuesdays at 10 am||Weekly parish sewing group|
|Wednesdays at 8 pm||Prayer Meeting and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament|
|Fridays fortnightly at 5 pm||Sacramental preparation for 1st Penance and 1st Communion for parents and children|
|Other events that take place during the year are||Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament|
|Parish Choir and Liturgy practice|
|Afternoon teas for the elderly (formerly known as 'the Club')|
WEBSITES OF INTEREST
|Sisters of Mercy of the Union||www.sistersofmercyunion.org.uk|
|The Weymouth Associates are dedicated to the advancement and prayers for the cause of the canonisation of the Venerable Catherine McAuley, our Foundress|
|Mercy International Centre||www.mercyinternational.ie|
|Youth Mercy Associates||www.youthmercyassociates.co.uk|
|Youth Mercy Associates is a growing activity for young people and teenagers. Information may be obtained though the Sisters of Mercy of the Union and also on the Youth Mercy Associates website|
PRAYER FOR THE BEATIFICATION OF CATHERINE MCAULEY
Loving God, You chose Catherine McAuley for the service of Your People who are poor, sick and uneducated. You inspired her to found the sisters of Mercy so that her good works might endure
Give to each of us a portion of her compassionate spirit and an ardent desire to serve Your suffering people
Graciously hear our prayers for Catherine, and by granting the favours we ask You through her intercession, hasten the day when her sanctity will be celebrated by all the Church
This page was last updated on 30 January at 11.00 A.M