Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ireland: Part 2

The purpose of our trip to Ireland was to be a part of a pilgrimage to learn about the life of Catherine McAuley, and the other first Sisters of Mercy, to whom the Mercy health ministry traces its roots and founding origin.
On the first day we visited the "House of Mercy on Baggot Street". This was where, in 1827, Catherine McAuley officially began her Mercy ministry when she inherited money and opened the house for women and children. 

She chose to build the house in the middle of the wealthy part of the city so the poverty that existed couldn't be ignored by wealthy citizens. This area is now mostly businesses, but at that time was lined with Georgian houses of wealthy families.

This is Sister Jeanette, who was one of our guides, with a statue of Catherine McAuley outside the House of Mercy.
Over the years, the house served as a home for women and children, a school for poor children, a home to train poor women a trade, and a hospital for those affected by typhoid fever and other illnesses. 

They asked that we not take pictures inside so this is the last one as we were entering.
I took this one picture from inside since it was actually of the outside. It was from a prayer room overlooking the courtyard where something like 15-20 of the the sisters who had served at the house are buried.
Outside in the Courtyard in front of the actual tomb where Caherine is buried.
(Is it weird to pose for a picture in front of someone's grave?)

The next day we went to Kingstowne, Dun Laoghaire. This is where Catherine McAuley opened her first foundation after the House of Mercy, for the Sisters to be by the seaside for recovery from their own illnesses or just to be rejuvenated.
It was really rainy the day we went there, but these were some pictures from the top of the building showing the Irish Sea.
 These were actually taken from the top of a fairly new building next door to the original building. It is used as a retirement home for the Sisters.

We toured the original foundation building which is connected to a hospital that is still open. 
I'll just say I'm very grateful I didn't need medical attention while we were there.

This is the outside of the building.
Later we went to this house which is known as the Coolock House. Catherine lived here with a wealthy family for 20 years after her own parents died. This is who she got the inheritance from that she used to build the House of Mercy.

Today some of the Sisters run several different ministries from the house.

We got to have tea with the sisters that afternoon. They were all so nice and we really enjoyed visiting with them. One of my favorite parts of the trip was the 94 year old nun (in the very back at the head of the table on the left) who had a Guinness (beer) apron on when she served us tea. HA!!!

**I found a couple of pictures on a different card that I added to the post from yesterday. I know you don't want to miss those:)

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