The Sisters of Mercy
As a child, Catherine McAuley was uprooted from a comfortable, loving home when her
parents died. Placed with relatives who scorned the Catholic religion, Catherine
remained inspired and curious about the faith her parents had practiced and she
remembered her father’s generosity to those less fortunate than himself.
Catherine’s life took an unexpected turn when, at age 50, she inherited a fortune. She
used her newly acquired wealth to build the first House of Mercy for Dublin’s abandoned
and abused women in 1827. Soon other women joined Catherine’s small community,
which lived and prayed together and provided training for residents of the House of
Mercy. Catherine and her associates also visited the sick in their homes and in hospitals.
Prompted by Roman Catholic bishops, in 1831, Catherine established a religious order,
the Sisters of Mercy, to ensure that the Mercy mission would continue beyond her
lifetime. In 1843, six sisters traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to provide for the needs
of immigrants. Four years later, they established the first Catholic hospital in the United
States, Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh. Today, Catherine McAuley’s legacy endures, as the
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas sponsor or co-sponsor nearly 200 health-related
facilities, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers and family
care and outreach centers.
In 1997, nine regional communities of the Sisters Mercy of the Americas became
founding sponsors of Catholic Health East. These nine communities are now six: Mid-
Atlantic, Northeast, Baltimore, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Rochester.
The Sisters of Mercy sponsor…
Mercy Health System of Maine
Mercy Community Health
St. Peter’s Health System
Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania
St. Joseph’s Health System – Atlanta
St. James Mercy Health System
Holy Cross Hospital
Pittsburgh Mercy Health System
Catholic Health System