News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
At the end of August the Sisters of Mercy, joined by Mercy Sisters from various parts of the country, celebrated the 175th anniversary of their arrival in Liverpool.
A very joyful Mass marked such a wonderful landmark in the Mercy story and took place in the Life Health Centre, the Mother House for the Liverpool Sisters from 1969-93. Bishop John Rawsthorne presided at the Mass, with Bishop Vincent Malone preaching.
The Sisters of Mercy established the first convent in Liverpool, at the request of Dr George Brown, Vicar Apostolic of the Lancashire Region, to the foundress, Mother Catherine McAuley. The founding party of six arrived from Dublin in August 1843 and were met at the Pier Head by crowds, who flocked there out of curiosity.
Among the six was Sister M Liguori Gibson, who had made her Novitiate in Baggot Street and expressed a desire to serve in England. She later served as Mother Superior for a total of twenty-six years, and has always been considered the Liverpool foundress. She originated in West Derby and her family lived in Eaton House, a short distance from where Broughton Hall is now. She was an intelligent, well-educated young woman and came from a prosperous, Catholic family. Her father gave great support to the new convent in Mount Vernon Street, which was the Mother House from 1843 until 1969, when the Sisters moved to Yew Tree Lane, having built what is now the Life Health Centre.
The Sisters carried out the works of Mercy through teaching, nursing, visitation of the poor, sick and dying, preparing candidates for the sacraments, and making altar breads. At the time of the Crimean War three Sisters accompanied an Irish party to tend the wounded soldiers. Two died, one of cholera and the other of typhus fever.
Following the Second Vatican Council the Liverpool community first became members of a Federation of Mercy Communities, from which the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy was formed in 1982. The Liverpool Sisters joined the Institute in 1986.