I recently returned from a trip to Ireland, including a visit to Dublin and its surrounding towns. I was lucky enough to have time for a stop at Mercy International Centre, the first house of mercy established by Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. The house is located on Baggot St., a short walk from St. Stephen's Green in Dublin.
Catherine dedicated her life to serving the poor, giving special attention to women and children in need. Throughout her life, she showed kindness and hospitality to all. Like many good Irishwomen, Catherine McAuley took her tea seriously. On her deathbed, she said to the sisters by her side: "Tell the Sisters to get a good cup of tea—I think the Community Room would be a good place—when I am gone, and to comfort one another, but God will comfort them." She died Nov. 11, 1841, and is buried in the courtyard of Mercy International Centre, along with many of the sisters who worked beside her. Mercy International Centre has many well preserved artifacts from Catherine's life, and is also a great place to find out more information on the current work of the sisters. Today, the Sisters of Mercy not only continue to live in Catherine’s spirit of Mercy, but also continue her commitment to hospitality. Tours of Mercy International Center are available Monday through Friday and include a warm scone, made by the sisters and, of course, a hot cup of tea.
You can get a glimpse of my journey to Baggot St. (and the scones) via the slideshow, here.