- Kevin Rash
Transforming the Health of Our Communities
Our Mercy health system was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in Springfield in 1891. But our heritage goes back more than 185 years. It began with an Irish woman named Catherine McAuley, who wanted to help the poor women and children of Dublin. Though Catherine had a modest upbringing, she received an unexpected inheritance that allowed her to fulfill her dreams. In 1827, she opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, intending to teach skills to poor women and educate children. Many volunteers came to help. A few years later, Catherine founded the Sisters of Mercy, the first religious order not bound to the rules of the cloister, whose Sisters were free to walk among the poor and visit them in their homes. By the time Catherine died in 1841, there were convents in Ireland and England, and in 1843, the Sisters of Mercy came to the United States. In 1871, they traveled to St. Louis and from there throughout the Midwest, beginning what would, today be known as Mercy.