About the Sisters of Mercy

In Ireland in the early 1800s, heiress Catherine McAuley was inspired to use her fortune to help improve the circumstances of the poor, especially women and children. She was persuaded by Church authorities to establish a religious order and, in 1831, Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy Ministry. Before her death, she established 12 Mercy Foundations throughout Ireland and two in England, the first convents to be built in that country since the Protestant Reformation.


Sister Frances Warde and seven Mercy sisters arrived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1843 and established the first U.S. Mercy congregation. By the end of the Civil War, the name “Mercy” was linked with the Church’s mission to care for the poor, the sick and the uneducated throughout the Northeast, down the Atlantic seaboard, in the South, the Midwest, and along the West Coast.


In 1880, Sister Cecilia Carroll, RSM, and three companions traveled from Savannah, Georgia to Atlanta to minister to the sick. With just 50 cents in their collective purse, the sisters opened the Atlanta Hospital, the first medical facility in the city after the Civil War.


Supported by generous donations, the Sisters nurtured the hospital in Atlanta, which soon became known as Saint Joseph’s Infirmary, and eventually Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta.

The Mission of the Sisters of Mercy

Sisters of Mercy are women who commit their lives to God, deepening their relationship with God and serving God’s people, especially those who are sick, poor and uneducated. In the spirit of the Gospel, our mission is to help people to overcome the obstacles that keep them from living full and dignified lives. A life of prayer and community is at the heart of our shared mission.

More Information

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for more information about Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta.