Mission of mercy continues

Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, went out on a limb in 1827 when she opened the House of Mercy in Baggot St, Dublin, for women who were homeless. The Sisters of Mercy are still taking risks to ensure women have a safe home and this week their latest venture, the new McAuley House, was opened.

A few years ago, the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea put up $7 million to build a beautiful home in Footscray for women who are homeless because of family violence or ill health. This year, the Andrews Labor Government contributed $4 million. This week women from the ‘old house’ will move into the new 25-bedroom McAuley House in Pickett St Footscray.

At a November 29 gathering, attended by more than 40 Sisters of Mercy, Sr Kath Tierney, a McAuley Community Services for Women board member and a driving force in getting the new McAuley House built, reminded everyone why the idea took shape and why the Sisters of Mercy continue to invest in the care and safety of women.

The following is an extract from her talk:

This event today brings together three important aspects of our lives as Mercy people and Sisters of Mercy. The Gospel, Mercy tradition and apostolic ministry.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says:

Come you whom my father has blessed, take for your heritage the Kingdom prepared for you, since the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you fed me – thirsty and you gave me to drink.

I was a stranger and you received me in your home, naked and you clothed me.

I was sick and you took care of me in prison and you visited me.

The righteous will then answer – When Lord did we ever see you hungry and fed you or thirsty and gave you a drink

When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, naked and clothed you.When did we ever see you sick and in prison and visit you.

The King will reply “I tell you whenever you did this for one of the least important of my sisters and brothers you did this for me”.

The provision of this facility is the home that Jesus spoke about – a home that will be a safe haven for those in need.

This facility will continue the legacy and tradition of Catherine McAuley –
a woman of vision, foresight and a woman of deep compassion.

Catherine’s greatest desire was to provide a home – not just shelter, but a home and hospitality for women, firstly in Ireland and then in many parts of the world.

This was to be done with – open hearts and open hands – giving and receiving many graces from the women residents in the House of Mercy.

The tradition of Mercy and the legacy of Catherine is lived out each day in the engagement that will take place here in this new facility.

For us, Sisters of Mercy today, we take pride in the Apostolic Ministry which is evident here and in the Board, staff and volunteers of McAuley Community Services for Women.

… The staff and volunteers are the face of Mercy – each and every day, as they care for the women, advocate on their behalf and give them hope for a life beyond McAuley Community Services for Women.

Thank you to each one who will care for the women who will make this place their home.

On behalf of the Sisters of Mercy, I wish each resident well as she takes up her place here and I assure each one of our prayers in the future.

We are proud of this new home which is an expression of Mercy Ministry alive in our World today.

Caption: Guests at the McAuley House events were invited to leave a message of hope on the fresh Christmas tree at the new house. Thanks to Melbourne Christmas Trees who donate real trees to our programs so that women and children can create happy memories to take them through the difficult times.