Education was very dear to the heart of Catherine McAuley. Everywhere new Mercy foundations were made, a first priority was to make education available, especially to the children of those who were poor. This value continues to inform the ethos of our schools in Ireland and in our Regions of Nigeria and Zambia. In each place, we strive to enable our young people to have the kind of educational opportunities which will enable them to develop to their full potential and to be confident, caring citizens of the world we inhabit.
While the landscape of Sisters' involvement in schools has changed dramatically in recent years, we are very proud of those schools where our Sisters currently work or where they have worked for many years. In them we see Mercy values respected and promoted. Is our hope and prayer that the rich heritage of Mercy education will continue and flourish in the 21st century.
Mercy Primary School, Belfast: Sr Francis Ford prepares the children for Easter ceremonies
There are altogether 34 schools in Mercy Trusteeship. We would like to introduce you now to some of our schools:
Principal - Sr Frances Forde
This all girls' primary school was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1857. Despite its location in a troubled area of North Belfast, morale among the staff and pupils is high and the education provided of a high standard. A recent inspection report praised the school for 'the high quality of its ethos and pastoral provision, the quality of its teaching and its supportive and attractive environment'.
Principal - Sr Anne Murphy
Founded in 1865 by the Sisters of Mercy, St Joseph's has recently become fully co-educational. With an enrolment of 509 children aged 3-11 years, the school has been described by the Department of Education inspection team as 'a happy school... Its strengths include the quality of its teaching and the provision it makes for children in the nursery and for those who need additional support with their learning' (ETI 2000). A new school on the existing site is scheduled for completion in 2005.
Principal - Mr Peter Daley
An 'oasis of calm' in a flashpoint area of North Belfast, Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School has been educating 500+ girls since it was opened by the Sisters of Mercy in 1960. The school is progressive and caring offering a comprehensive programme that encourages mutual respect and understanding of other communities.
Principal - Mrs Teresa Corr
Established in 1924, St Michael's was originally an all-girls school enrolling pupils at 11 years. For the past 25 years the school has operated as a Senior Grammar School admitting boys and girls at 14+ years. St Michael's provides a high quality Catholic education for 558 students and looks forward to a new school on its present site in the near future.
Principal - Ms Geraldine Pettigrew
Our Lady's began life in 1887 with just 9 girls receiving their education in a room in the Convent of Mercy. Today 860 girls are offered a broad and innovative education strongly focused on Mercy values and academic excellence in a superbly equipped school. Our Lady's was named top overall school in Northern Ireland in the Sunday Times Parent Power Table 2002.
Principal - Mr Anthony Leavy
St Joseph's was established in the old National School in September 1949 with 32 pupils on the roll. It is a co-educational Secondary School with an enrolment of approximately 550 pupils. An amalgamation process is underway between St Joseph's Athboy and St James Vocational School to form a new Community School for Athboy.
Principal - Fr Francis Duffy
Fatima & Felim's Secondary School is a small post-primary school located in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim. It is under the joint trusteeship of the Sisters of Mercy and the Diocese of Kilmore. Meanscoil Fatima was founded in 1954 and St Felim's College in 1962. Both schools amalgamated in 1994 as Fatima & Felim's Secondary School. Since the late 1960s there has been common enrolment with the local Vocational School. This results in a sharing of facilities and resources. The current enrolment is 310.
Principal - Mr Liam Rainey
Scoil Mhuire is a Voluntary Secondary Co-educational School founded in 1933 under the trusteeship of the Mercy Sisters. Its aim is to provide a holistic education for students of the South Inishowen area, with particular emphasis on those who are termed disadvantaged. Current enrolment is 798 pupils.
Principal - Mr Gerry McGuill
Our Lady's Secondary School came into being as a Voluntary Co-educational Secondary School in 1971 with the amalgamation of St Mary's Boys Secondary School and Mean Scoil Mhuire. Current enrolment is 585 pupils.
Principal - Ms Mary Caffrey
This school was dedicated to the Sacred Heart and was blessed and formally opened by Dr Kyne, Bishop of Meath on 12th September 1960. Current enrolment is 522 girls.
Principal - Ms Anne McDonnell
St Vincent's is a large Secondary School for girls which was established in 1903 and has a long and proud tradition of providing a holistic education for the young women of Dundalk and the surrounding area. The school upholds all the traditional values of Mercy education, whilst preparing the 711 girls on the roll for the fast changing, technological, modern era.
Principal - Sr Joan Dunne
Eureka Secondary School based in Kells, Co Meath, is a Voluntary Catholic school for girls. The school was first established in the Mercy Convent in 1924 and moved to Eureka House in 1956. It is renowned for its high standards and excellent academic results. The success of the school is based on its commitment to academic excellence and personal and spiritual development. Current enrolment is 717 pupils.
Principal - Ms Catherine Moynihan
Founded in 1894, the Mercy Secondary School is a Co-educational Voluntary Secondary School under trusteeship of the Sisters of Mercy. Its primary aim is to meet the educational needs of families who are in agreement with the aims and philosophy of the school as outlined in the school prospectus. Current enrolment is 326 pupils.
Principal - Mr Vincent Donovan
St Joseph's was registered as a secondary school in 1925. In 1969 the main block of St Joseph's was officially opened. With an enrolment of 515 girls, its aim is to create a disciplined atmosphere of care and concern in which students can grow to maturity.
Principal - Mr Tony O'Sullivan
St Joseph's Secondary School was established by the Sisters of Mercy over 3 decades ago to answer the academic needs of a wide catchment area. Current enrolment is 754 boys and girls.
Principal - Mr Gerry Bennett
Founded in 1968, St Columba's College began with 69 students and 9 teachers. St Columba's is noted for the academic achievement of its students, some three quarters of whom go on to further education when they leave the school. Current enrolment is 756 boys and girls.
Principal - Mr Jerry Kearney
Scoil Mhuire was founded in 1936. It is a voluntary secondary school for girls and current enrolment is 642. Scoil Mhuire seeks to provide a quality education for all its students in a challenging and positive environment.
Principal - Mr Damien Kennedy
Sacred Heart Secondary School was established in 1853 and since that time has built up certain traditions and standards of behaviour, which together form an important part of the School Ethos. It sets standards as is its duty in the moral and character formation of its 640 pupils.