News & Events

Congregation Celebrates 125 years

On that day in 1888, a small band of Sisters of Mercy newly arrived from Ireland, gathered around a simple altar and prayed for God’s blessing on their mission to Parramatta.Dr O'Haran celebrated this first Mass and blessed their Convent under the invocation of the Immaculate Conception.

125 years later about 400 people, including Sisters, past students, colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate and to reflect on the theme of ‘Weaving the Threads of Mercy’.

The first thread woven was an i-movie that told of Catherine McAuley who began the Sisters of Mercy; it traced the Parramatta founding story through to today. This segment was introduced by students from OLMC Burraneer singing Sub Tuum Praesidium (Under Your Protection).

We heard from an Eritrean refugee woman about her life, with her focus on the hope she holds rather than the atrocities she has suffered. She told of the Mercy she had experienced in her life and the commitment she has made to share that Mercy with others.

A thread that was woven all through the day was the announcement of 125 Women and Men of Mercy.  These lay women and men, coming from a wide range of backgrounds, had been nominated for exemplifying the spirit of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, though their commitment to ‘Mercy in action’ and the living of Mercy values.

The thread of our young people was woven by students from OLMC Parramatta, Catherine McAuley Westmead, OLMC Burraneer and Our Lady of the Rosary School Kellyville. Through singing, chamber orchestra, dancing, works of art and sharing with the audience, they identified numerous examples of how Mercy is alive in their school communities. Their youthful enthusiasm and spirit of joy was inspirational.

Sisters Margaret Sheppard and Valda Dickinson shared their experiences of working with refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres. This justice thread led participants to reflect on the question: From what you have heard, how has your heart been stirred? 

Over the years, close bonds have been established among Sisters and lay women and men who are committed to Mercy and want to have a deeper involvement. The Mercy Futures group comprises of Sisters and lay women who have been reflecting on ‘Where to from here for mercy?’ Recognising that the Congregation is aging, the group is motivated to work towards the keeping the flame of the mercy charism alive for another 125 years.All present were invited to be involved in taking Mercy forward. They were asked: How can we continue Catherine's mercy vision in the future?

The concept of a Mercy Place was formed. Mercy Place will empower people reach out to the world in action for mercy and justice. It provide peer support for those in Mercy ministries, skills formation for young leaders and mentoring for women in leadership.

Woven into Mercy Place will be threads representing the dedication and commitment of every Sister both present and past; and all who have worked and still work for the many ministries of Mercy. Those present were invited to respond as to how they might be involved in a Mercy Place.

The day concluded with a presentation to the Sisters of Mercy, a time of Prayer focussed on Threads of Mercy, followed by a Devonshire afternoon tea.

Click here to view the Photo Gallery of the day.

Integrity of Justice: July Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

We are all invited to join with pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: Integrity of Justice.

Let us pray that those who administer justice may work with integrity, and that the injustice which prevails in the world may not have the last word.

Text of the video:

The decisions made by judges influence the rights and property of citizens.
Their independence should keep them safe from favoritism and from pressures that could contaminate the decisions they have to make.
Judges must follow the example of Jesus, who never negotiates the truth.
Let us pray that those who administer justice may work with integrity, and that the injustice which prevails in the world may not have the last word.

- Pope Francis, July 2019



We invite you to post a prayer or reflection in our prayer space


Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2019

'We will open our hearts to the cries of the poor using our energies, gifts and resources to address violence and discrimination especially for women and children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples...' (Chapter Statement)

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July (7-14 July 2019). Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.

This year's theme is 'VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH', the three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians. The theme acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy. More about the theme and the invitation to all Australians 'to work together for a shared future' can be read here.

Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation recognises the importance of NAIDOC Week in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture, talent and resilience and the opportunity this week offers us all to grow in knowledge and build relationships.

Ways to be involved in NAIDOC Week can be found here

The Priests' Way of Life: June Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: The Priests' Way of Life.

Let us pray that priests, through the modesty and humility of their lives, commit themselves actively, above all, to solidarity with those who are most poor.



Text of the Video:

I would like to ask you to look at the priests who work in our communities.
They are not perfect, but many give it their all until the very end, offering themselves with humility and joy.
They are priests who are close to the people, ready to work hard for everyone.
Let us be thankful for their example and testimony. Let us pray that priests, through the modesty and humility of their lives, commit themselves actively, above all, to solidarity with those who are most poor.

 - Pope Francis, June 2019

We invite you to post a prayer or reflection in our prayer space

Fourth Anniversary of Encyclical letter Laudato Si'

We will live simply, in a way that takes into account the fragility of  Mother Earth by using her resources more sparingly and,where possible, living with less. (Chapter Statement 2016)

On 18 June 2015, Pope Francis released his encyclical letter Laudato Si' (Praised Be), a passionate call to every person living on the planet  'to regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it' (para. 229). Since that letter was released there have been numerous media reports of extreme weather events including drought, floods and tornadoes and their impact on millions of people. Eight months ago we learned from leading climate scientists that there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C.

This anniversary offers each one of us the opportunity to reflect on how we have responded to the Pope's call in Laudato Si' and to recommit to action.

A starting point could be to visit the website of the Global Catholic Climate Movement which works within the Catholic Church to better care for our common home and to which Sisters of Mercy belong. It provides resources for learning about Laudato Si' and suggestions for protecting all creation.