"What would the charity of God have profited us, if His mercy had not come to our aid?"

Venerable Catherine McAuley

In the Church there are many religious institutes with gifts that differ according to the particular grace which has been given them. This distinctive character, or charism, first given to the founder/foundress and approved by the Church is not only transmitted to each religious but is deepened and constantly developed by her. This charism involves a particular style of sanctification and apostolate.

Venerable Catherine sought to incarnate the Mercy of God the Father to the poor, sick, and ignorant. To do this, she chose the practical and womanly milieu of a home. There she and her Sisters instructed hundreds of poor children and housed distressed women. From there her Sisters went forth to nurse the sick in their homes and in the public hospitals, and to perform the various corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

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Venerable Catherine placed her community under the patronage of Our Lady of Mercy, for Mary is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy. "No one has experienced, to the same degree as the Mother of the crucified One, the mystery of the cross, the overwhelming encounter of divine transcendent justice with love: that 'kiss' given by mercy to justice" (Dives in Misericordia, 97).

The Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, as our major feast. Continuing the charism of Venerable Catherine McAuley, each Sister of Mercy is called by her vows to be a point of convergence between the Mercy of God and the misery of mankind.

Our Institute is also under the protection of Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose writings have had, and continue to have, a strong influence upon our development. We have requested and received permission from the Holy See to celebrate as a feast the day in which the universal Church honors Saint Thomas Aquinas.