In 1831 Catherine McCauley founded the Sisters of Mercy. The building that houses the Mercy Center was built for Catherine McCauley and was the first convent of the Sisters of Mercy. It is located in Lower Baggot Street at number 64A and was an easy walk from our hotel.
Tours are guided by sisters who come and volunteer to work at the center from all over the world. Photography is not allowed inside, why is beyond me but of course I abided by their rules. I was however allowed to take pictures in the garden where Mother McCauley is buried and where there is an amazing wall of names. The wall includes all the groups who have donated to keeping the Mercy Center going. I was delighted after a ten minute search to find my High School (which was named Mercy) twice on the wall. The garden itself was quite amazing since we visited in January and there were still flowers blooming including a beautiful rose bush. Mother’s tomb is beautiful and a lot more elaborate, I am sure, than she would have wanted but a very prayerful place nonetheless.
Your tour begins with a short video about the Sisters of Mercy. It was pretty funny because it was Joe and Al and I who went to the Mercy Center. We were told that there was someone already on a tour who was watching the video, we were allowed to join him, it was our friend Bob.
If you have trouble with stairs there is an elevator available to get you from floor to floor. On the lower floor where the kitchen and shop are there is also a small museum with personal items from Mother McCauley and also a history of the life and times of the Sisters. I think sometimes we forget what it was like in 1831. The local Bishop wanted the Sisters to stay in their convent and pray I guess but Mother McCauley had a much different vision, she wanted her Sisters to be out among the people teaching and ministering. It was a hard fight but in the end Mother won. Lucky for us in the state of Connecticut and especially in the area I am from. The Sisters came to Middletown to found a school in 1872 and one of my dear friends Sr. Ann Mack is still at our parish, as pastoral Associate and DRE (I wonder what that Bishop in Dublin would have thought of that?) though our parish school no longer has any Sisters of Mercy.
When you finish your tour you are invited to visit their tiny gift shop while Sister fixes tea and a scone for you. It is a very simple and relaxing finish to a very interesting tour.
Cost of the tour is 6 euros.