The Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea was formed on December 12, 2011 from a number of congregations of the Sisters of Mercy. It is a congregation of Catholic women religious, about 920 in number, who aim to serve people who suffer from injustices related to poverty, sickness or lack of education. Its head office moved from Lewisham to the Convent of Mercy at Stanmore in 2012. The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia holds records of children's homes run by a number of the New South Wales congregations of the Sisters of Mercy.
The Institute was formed from 14 of the 17 congregations of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia, and from the region of Papua New Guinea. These are: Adelaide, Ballarat East, Bathurst, Cairns, Goulburn, Grafton, Gunnedah, Melbourne, Perth, Rockhampton, Singleton, Townsville, West Perth, Wilcannia-Forbes. The Institute is part of the worldwide Mercy International Association.
The North Sydney Sisters of Mercy, the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy and the Brisbane Sisters of Mercy are not part of the Institute, but remain closely related.
In forming the Institute, each of the 15 groups ceased to be a separate canonical and legal entity and its sisters are now members of the new Institute with all the rights and responsibilities of professed Sisters of Mercy. Within the Institute every sister belongs to a community which takes in a wide geographic area. There are six communities throughout the country and in PNG.
The Institute is governed by a leader and council elected by the chapter. They are based in Sydney and in 2012 will move to the Institute's centre which is in the former Convent of Mercy, Stanmore. Their day to day work of leadership is shared with the community leaders and much of the business of the Institute is administered through Mercy offices in Melbourne, Newcastle, Rockhampton.
The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy follows the lead of Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831. The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy followed the lead of Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831. Catherine McAuley wanted to support those who were marginalised and oppressed by unjust social attitudes and practices of her day. She established a House of Mercy in Dublin to provide educational, religious and social services for women and children who were at risk of homelessness through exploitation and entrenched poverty.
1884 - 2011 Sisters of Mercy, Grafton Congregation
1859 - 2011 Sisters of Mercy, Goulburn Congregation
1867 - 2011 Sisters of Mercy, Bathurst Congregation
1875 - 2011 Sisters of Mercy, Singleton Congregation
1887 - 2011 Sisters of Mercy, Gunnedah Congregation
1890 - 2011 Sisters of Mercy, Wilcannia-Forbes Congregation
1981 - 2011 Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia
2011 - Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Gunnedah sisters gift their heritage to community', in Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, 21 May 2009, https://web.archive.org/web/20220521120545/https://institute.mercy.org.au/gunnedah-sisters-gift-their-heritage-to-community/; Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia, 2011, http://institute.mercy.org.au/; Sisters of Mercy, Singleton (RSM), Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, 2013, https://www.mn.catholic.org.au/church-mission/catholic-life/religious-congregations/sisters-of-mercy-in-australia-and-papua-new-guinea/; 'Religious Sisters of Mercy Bathurst Congregation', in Catholic Churches of Australia, c 2011, https://web.archive.org/web/20100410120006/http://cathchurch.net:80/religious/foundation/mercybath1.htm; Institute of Sisters of Mercy in Australia and Papua New Guinea: History, Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, https://mercy.org.au/stories/beginning-with-catherine-mcauley/.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 14 August 2012, Last modified: 28 April 2017