Catherine McAuley, Sisters of Mercy founder, left behind a legacy of helping others – on a global scale. So when a group of Sisters recently met one of McAuley’s distant relatives, it was quite a special occasion.
Julie McAuley, of Australia, learned about her connection to Catherine while working with the Sisters of Mercy during her Ph.D. studies in Brisbane.
“They realized the spelling was exactly the same and said how rare that was,” Julie recalled. “I met with them for morning tea and they tried to do my family history because my father was born in Ireland.”
While not exactly sure how many greats to add, Julie is a great, great niece of Catherine.
When artist Jane DeDecker began working on a bronze sculpture of Catherine McAuley, she did an internet search for living relatives and came upon Julie. Once a connection was established, Julie participated in facial studies.
For the sculpture, Catherine’s face was extensively researched. It was based not only on a highly regarded and much-loved painting, but also of images of Julie. Julie shares similarities in eyes, nose, jaw line, cheek bone and overall face shape with Catherine’s image in the painting.
The sculpture at Mercy Hospital St. Louis was dedicated in 2014 and Julie had only seen pictures of it. In the U.S. on business, Julie stopped in to see the sculpture in person. While she was in town, several Sisters of Mercy were honored to spend time with her.