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Sisters of Mercy

Catherine McAuley

The Sisters of Mercy came from Ireland to the United States in the 1840s. Sister Francis Warde carried forward the mission of the Irish founder, Mother Catherine McAuley, "to help the poor, the sick and the uneducated...." The Sisters of Mercy established various convents, schools, and hospitals across the United States.

By 1886, the Sisters of Mercy built their first Motherhouse in Bordentown. However, rapid growth made this structure too small by 1902. Therefore, at Bishop James McFaul's urging, the Sisters relocated to a place on the main railroad line between New York and Philadelphia, "someplace with future possibilities."

As a result, the Sisters of Mercy accepted the gift of 30 sloping acres along the Watchung Mountain Ridge from Mr. David Kenny. In thanksgiving for his financial success, he donated the acreage on the recommendation of his wife who was educated by the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters established Mount Saint Mary College and Academy on this land in 1906 at Bishop James McFaul's request.

Success had its price, however. Just as with the Bordentown Motherhouse, growth caused the facilities to fill so rapidly that by 1924 the walls were bulging with students, and larger facilities were needed. After lengthy negotiations, which sometimes took on a transatlantic character, the Gould family agreed to sell the family estate to the Sisters of Mercy. As a contingency of sale, the estate's name, Georgian Court, was retained, and the college renamed Georgian Court, a name it will retain in perpetuity.

--excerpts from Georgian Court College Founders' Celebrations

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


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