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.

Bees, Butterflies and Bugs for Balconies, Back Verandas and Window Sills

The Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta Earthkin group are encouraging care and assistance for pollinators. In so doing we want to promote actions to assist those insects that help maintain the beauty and food production that we depend upon for relaxation and nourishment.   

 Entitled BeesButterflies and Bugs for Balconies, Back Verandas and Window Sills, this activity involves growing pollinator friendly plants in pots or other containers and having them in the places mentioned.

For further information click every two months on Latest News - Sisters of Mercy Parramatta (

This initiative supports the B & B Highway (Bed, Breakfast and Biodiversity of birds, Bees and Butterflies) founded by Dr Judy Friedlander and implemented by Nicole Lewis and Francisco Garcia Bulle Bueno

 Check out the Planting Seeds website for more information about the B&B Highway.

To make a contribution, contact or

Mercy Works - Communicating Via Art

Sr Mary Lewis RSM is at the frontline helping refugees and asylum seeker students settle into the Australian education system. At the end of each month, all our Mercy Connect volunteers submit a report to their respective Coordinators giving them an update of how they are going. Recently, Sr Mary received one moving report where a volunteer’s words spoke about remembering those students in their class that they felt were left behind.

I am enjoying the work and hopefully, it is having some meaningful impact on my students. The students are a mixed bag, all having different needs. Learning to listen and be patient has been an invaluable experience. It is wonderful to able to deal with students on a one-to-one basis – I fear these were the ones left behind in my classes when I had another 26 students to deal with...

Download the complete article

Social Friendship: July 2021 Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

We pray that, in social, economic and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship.

The Bible says that whoever finds a friend has found a treasure.

I would like to invite everyone to go beyond their groups of friends and build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well.
We especially need to have a renewed encounter with the most impoverished and vulnerable, those on the peripheries. And we need to distance ourselves from populisms that exploit the anguish of the people without providing solutions, proposing a mystique that solves nothing.
We must flee from social enmity which only destroys, and leave “polarization” behind.
And this isn’t always easy, especially today when part of our politics, society and media are bent on creating enemies so as to defeat them in a game of power.
Dialogue is the path to seeing reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.
Let us pray that, in social, economic, and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship, men and women who always hold out a helping hand, and may no spaces of enmity and war remain.

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

Celebrating NAIDOC Week 4-11 July 2021

'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.

This year's theme Heal Country! calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. NAIDOC Week 2021 acknowledges and celebrates that our nation’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact whether in 1770 or 1606 - with the arrival of the Dutch on the western coast of the Cape York Peninsula. The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples.

More about the theme and the invitation to all Australians 'to embrace the true history of this country' can be read here. Resources to celebrate the week, includin g this poster, can be found here. Ways to be involved can be found 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.