Mercy Foundation Day: Celebrating Nearly Two Centuries of Service

December 12, 2021

On December 12, Mercy recognizes Foundation Day of the Sisters of Mercy. On that day in 1831, Catherine McAuley, Mary Ann Doyle and Elizabeth Harley took vows to become the first Sisters of Mercy and thus began a religious community dedicated to serving the poor, sick and uneducated.


Today, the Mercy that McAuley and “the walking Sisters” inspired is guided by the same philosophy to bring care where it’s needed most. Thanks to new and emerging technologies, Mercy's clinical teams can now serve more people where they are — in their homes, schools and workplaces. 

In God Alone - The Story of Catherine McAuley

This latest telling of Catherine’s life, a 23 minute docudrama, features re-enactments of actual events in the life of Catherine McAuley, from her childhood to her last days. Filmed mainly on location in Ireland with Irish actors, the film makes for compelling viewing.

The Sisters of Mercy

Catherine McAuley was born in Dublin, Ireland, and founded the Sisters of Mercy. A woman of deep faith, Catherine spent her entire inheritance building a home to educate children and care for women in need. Her “House of Mercy” still endures today, as does the ministry of the Sisters. Find out more about Mercy’s legacy of excellent care.

Learn More

The First Sisters of Mercy in America

Sister Francis Xavier Warde and the five young women who accompanied her across the Atlantic left everything behind them to answer a call from the Bishop of Pittsburgh. As the first Sisters of Mercy in America, they spread rapidly across the country, meeting the needs of rapidly growing communities. Their legacy of innovation continues today, with Mercy building the world’s first virtual hospital, caring for patients from coast to coast.

Take a Virtual Tour

Care for Women

When the Sisters of Mercy were founded, women and children were especially vulnerable to illness and poverty. For this reason, the Sisters gave special attention to their needs. Today, Mercy remains deeply committed to helping women live healthier lives. From heart specialists to same day mammography appointments, we partner with women to make it easier to care for themselves… and everyone else.

Learn More

Caring for Communities

Being drawn by need, the Sisters of Mercy settled across the American frontier, building hospitals and establishing the health care infrastructure that would support growing populations, especially during epidemics of small pox and other diseases. The men and women of Mercy remain committed to bringing care wherever it is needed most, with state of the art hospitals, clinics and specialty services.