House Colour: Yellow
Our House Patron:
Catherine McAuley was born into a wealthy family in Dublin, Ireland. Her father used to bring poor children home for instruction in the Catholic faith. He died when Catherine was very young, but his compassion influenced her entire life. As a young woman Catherine dared to be different. She passionately wanted to change the experiences of those who suffered.
Catherine’s mother also died when she was young having taught Catherine independence, poise and charm. After her parents’ premature deaths, Catherine went to live with the Callaghans and for the next 20 years she cared for them, growing closer to God through prayer and performing works of charity.
In 1827 Catherine built the House of Mercy with the money she inherited from the Callaghans. The House of Mercy was a home for working girls and orphans, and a school for poor children. Other women joined Catherine McAuley and in 1831 they founded the Sisters of Mercy, convinced that the good that they were doing would have a better chance of continuing beyond their lifetime if it were the work of a religious community.
Catherine lived another 10 years and during this time was joined by 100 women who became Sisters of Mercy. Their work spread to several other cities in Ireland and then to England. After Catherine’s death, the Sisters of Mercy founded houses in other continents of the world, including Australia.
Catherine’s spirit continues to inspire women to follow her lead today. Catherine heeded God’s call to reach out with courage and love to the needy of her time. Sisters of Mercy today commit themselves to follow Jesus Christ in his compassion for suffering people. They serve God’s people through education, health care and other ministries that further social, political, economic and spiritual well being.
Catherine McAuley once said, “God knows I would rather be cold and hungry than see the poor deprived of any comfort in my power to give them.” Looking after the poor, whether it be poor in wealth or in spirit, is something that Aquinas College believes is important. Looking after the poor, whether it be poor in wealth or in spirit, is a value we try to emulate every day.