Founding Stories

Although Catherine McAuley died in 1841, the Mercy Order continued to grow with more and more women wanting to become Sisters of Mercy.

Soon a small group of Sisters left Ireland to travel to the other side of the world – to live and work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

These pioneering women had left their families and friends to make New Zealand their home. The first Sisters to arrive settled in Auckland, but soon more groups of Sisters were arriving to set up new Mercy communities around New Zealand.

boatEach region in New Zealand has its own special Mercy ‘founding story’. This explains when their first Mercy Sisters arrived, who they were, where they came from, and the wonderful works the Sisters did within that region.

Sometimes small groups of Sisters moved into a new area and set up a new ‘Foundation’ This meant that this group of Sisters were independent; they had their own Mother Superior (their leader) and Mother House (their headquarters). Other times, groups of Sisters set up new convents but would rely on their closest Mother House for support. These convents were called ‘Branch Houses’.

If your school is in Hokitika, Greymouth, Christchurch, Mid- Canterbury or Timaru, read your special ‘Southern Founding Story’.

If you school is in Mosgiel, South Otago or Dunedin, read your special Founding Story – ‘Mercy in the South’.

If your school is in Reefton or Westport, follow this link to learn about the Reefton Mercy Story.

If your school is in the Wellington region, follow this link to read about the Wellington Founding Story.

If your school is in the Auckland region, go here to read about the Auckland Founding Story.