Meeting Catherine Today

The following are stories of faith and confidence in the intercession of Catherine McAuley.

A Mercy Sister - 2010

I found the Catherine McAuley/Mother of Mercy medal when I was moving into my room at Mercy Hospital (Chicago) in 1989. It was on the top shelf of the closet and black in color. I cleaned it with silver polish and attempted to give it to the sisters at the hospital to be forwarded to their archives. Sister Micheal Berry, RSM told me that that type of medal was given to a sister on their silver jubilee and that it would have been placed on their rosary beads. She remembered older sisters who had them and told me that she hadn't seen that type of medal for many, many years. They gave me the medal, and I placed it in a plastic bag used by coin collectors to keep coins from becoming tarnished. The medal was kept in a wooden box with other pieces of jewellery.

My house burnt "in total" on March 8, 2010. In the charned remains the wooden box was found several weeks later. Most of the contents were destroyed, but the Catherine McAuley/Mother of Mercy medal is totally unharmed - not tarnished, not charred, not smoke ladden but in perfect condition. The plastic container that housed the medal was intact. The only other things (passport, birth certificate, saving deposit box keys) salvged from the fire were in a metal box and smelled heavily of smoke, Everything else was destroyed.

Gladys - September 20, 2010

Padre Victor is a Peruvian priest originally from Monsefu where the Sisters of Mercy went on mission from St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1961. Victor has always been a close friend of the Sisters there and of all of us Mercies in Newfoundland having visited us here on two occasions. He is pastor in Recque and has responsibilities for several other areas as well as being a teacher in a local school. He has been an untiring worker for social justice, helping in many ways to improve the lot of his beloved people.

In late August we heard that Victor had been rushed to the hospital with a malignant brain tumour, leaving him without the use of his limbs, and barely able to speak. The ensuing surgery removed 75% of the tumour and it seemed as if he rallied for a while.The people came from miles around to keep vigil at his hospital room.

Although unable to go into the room they were satisfied to be near “Padre”. A medal of Venerable Catherine McAuley appeared in the hands of one of the men and it began to be circulated among all the visitors as they prayed. Padre Victor was heard to whisper “Catalina McAuley” over and over in his slurred mumbling. The Sisters attending at his bedside were edified at the faith of these people.

This past week however Victor suffered a setback and cannot do anything for himself. Although he has been moved to a private room his case is still very serious and prayers are needed.

Let us pray that Venerable Catherine will hear the ardent prayers offered for him and intercede for him so that God’s name will be glorified through him.



Alison - March 26, 2010

The following account of a favour received was sent to me by Alison who attends Holy Trinity Church, Newcastle-under-Lyme and where she came to hear of Catherine through two local Sisters of Mercy, Sr. Bridie and Sr. Betty. 

“My name is Alison Jones and I live in Staffordshire, England. I am a paediatric student nurse. However, before this I was a singer for many years. Since I have been studying I have continued to write music, although I no longer perform in public. I often find myself questioning the new career I have chosen and wondering if it is the right one for me, as I still love music and singing so much. I miss it a great deal and I have often asked the Lord for a sign, if possible, that would show me one way or the other which path I should take.

Around September last year I started asking Catherine’s intercession in prayer that I might be given some sort of sign that may show me whether I should say goodbye to my music or convince me that nursing is the right path. In November I had the shock of my life when I received an e-mail from a literary organisation who, after hearing one of my songs and being offered the use of it if they so wished, contacted me to say they absolutely loved it and would like to adopt it as their ‘theme tune’. I would perform the song at one of their book signings where their patron Dame Vera Lynn would be present. It has since received a lot of positive feedback and I will be performing the song this Saturday at the Grand Hotel, Brighton. I am absolutely thrilled and so grateful for Catherine’s prayers and while I won’t be giving up nursing, I take this as a sign that I can continue with my music alongside my studying.

I continue to ask Catherine for her prayers for certain family members and I am in no doubt that she is praying for them as I see a big difference in their lives. I have also asked her to pray for me for this Saturday.

Thank you for your time Sr. Anne and glory to God for granting me this favour through Catherine”.

Yours faithfully,
Alison Jones
26 March, 2010


August 3, 2009

I teach religion at Red Bank Catholic in Red Bank New Jersey. As you know, we pray school-wide every Thursday morning for Catherine's cannonization. I wanted to share an answer to prayer through the intercession of Sr. McAuley.

My daughter  had moved from Maryland in November 2008 to come back to New Jersey. She graduated from Loyola College in 2005 and had an excellent job as a financial analyst in Maryland. When she left Maryland she thought she would be able to find a job quickly in New Jersey. By January she was still unemployed. I felt very led to pray to Sr. McAuley, asking for her intervention in this matter. I wanted to further her cause for canonization and I wanted my daughter to find a job. I have to say, I felt very confident this prayer was going to be answered through the intercession of Sr. McAuley. I also thought the prayer would have to be very specific and well documented for it to be used. Below are the dates and particulars taken from my journal.

January 7th 2009 – Went into chapel and prayed to Sr. McAuley that my daughter would find a job. Specifically, that she would get a call from one of the many companies she had applied to the next day, Jan. 8th, and that a job offer would be extended in two weeks.

January 8th – When I got home from school, my daughter told me she had received a call from a bank asking her to come in for an interview on Jan 14th. I continued to pray and praise, giving the prayer request over to the intercession of Catherine McAuley. I knew then this prayer would be answered.

January 14th – My daughter had an interview with the man who would be her immediate supervisor. She received an email and a phone call later in the day asking her to return for a second interview with the vice-president on January 21.

January 21st – Second interview with the vice-president

Janurary 22nd – She received an email from Human Resources informing her that the interview went very well, and to expect to be contacted very soon to tell her “what the next steps were” for her employment with the bank.

My daughter is now employed at the bank and I know this is through the intercession of Sr. McAuley.


Zachary - 2009

Just a note to thank you for your prayers for our grandson, Zachary.

Today our son had a meeting with our doctor who had sent Zachary’s medical records to several brain specialists throughout Canada and the United States. The consensus now seems to be that they are able to take necessary actions to reduce the large “artero venus malformation” in the centre of his brain.

The recommended treatment seems to be some focused type of radiation as surgery is unadvisable. The specialist in Toronto has assembled a team to look after treatment strategies. Knowing that the coming days will necessitate a lot of crucial decisions, we would appreciate your continous prayers.

Your prayers have meant so much not only for Zachary but for all the family.  Thank you and God bless you all.

Gerry and Ruth Benson


From St John’s, Newfoundland - 2009

I met a patient at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital. Fred is not of the Roman Catholic faith, but he seemed very happy to tell me this story:

Two years ago Fred’s twenty-year old grandson had a very serious motor vehicle accident in another province of Canada requiring that he lose his spleen and gall bladder. Also his liver has been severed. He was in critical condition. Fred happened to meet one of our sisters who was visiting the hospital and told her the story of his grandson and of his great worry about him. That sister promised him to put his grandson’s name on a prayer list and Sisters of Mercy around the world would pray for him.

Fred told me that he attributes his grandson’s healing to these prayers and to those of others. He is very grateful for this worldwide circle of prayer. His grandson has recovered and is a proud daddy. The baby’s mother was in the truck with him and was pregnant at the time of the accident – another miracle!


From Maryland, USA - 2008

My first encounter with Catherine McAuley was through hearing about her from my dear friend, Sister Frances Demarco RSM, who I met when we were both working at the same parish back in 1976.

On one of my first visits to the sisters’ home I remember seeing on the wall a plaque that contained a quote from Catherine as she was dying:  “Be sure you have a comfortable cup of tea for them when I am gone.”  Those words struck me as being exceptionally compassionate for a dying person; to be more concerned about the comfort of her sisters who may come to her funeral than for herself touched me deeply.  Through these many years, I have heard much about Catherine’s life from the Mercy Sisters who I have had the joy of meeting and knowing.  And so when in August of 2003 our parish sponsored a pilgrimage to Ireland - with a visit to the shrine of Our Lady of Knock particularly in mind - it occurred to me that I should visit the home of Mother McAuley while in Dublin. So one free afternoon I went alone looking for her home on Lower Baggot Street.  When I arrived I simply rang the door bell and a wonderful Sister of Mercy greeted me with exceptional kindness and hospitality even though I had made no prior arrangements. She showed me through the house and shared many details about Catherine’s life. When we visited Catherine burial site, it was my intention to simply pray for my Mercy friends but there was something about that experience that drew me closer to her. I asked if I could return the next day to celebrate Mass in the chapel and the immediate response was a resounding “yes.” 

The next day I returned accompanied by the entire bus load of 45 pilgrims.  We celebrated Mass on that day - August 25th - which happens to be the feast day of Saint Louis, the patron saint of our parish! Since it was not planned, and since it had not occurred to me until I prepared for the Mass and since I do not believe in coincidence, I saw it as the Lord’s hand at work introducing all of us to Catherine. To our great surprise, several of the Sisters of Mercy joined us at Mass and provided beautiful organ and vocal accompaniment.It was a most memorable celebration of the Eucharist as we prayed through the intercession of Catherine. We were further surprised by and touched that after Mass all of us - all 45 persons - were invited to the dining room for tea and scones. Many remarked later that the highlight of the entire two week pilgrimage to Ireland was the visit to the International House of Mercy. In our visit we literally experienced Catherine’s charism of welcoming the stranger and providing hospitality through her sisters.

The following year Sister Francis Demarco won the local Mercy Community’s annual lottery which enabled her and another friend, Sister Kate Bell RSM, to travel to Ireland and to the home of Mother McAuley for the purpose of attending a retreat entitled: “Walking with Catherine.”  They invited me to join them - an invitation I readily accepted. I believe I became the first (and perhaps only) priest that has joined the sisters for this unique retreat. Though I stayed in a nearby hotel, I still participated in all the activities including visiting the places in Dublin which were part of Catherine’s life. Each day I had the privilege of joining the sisters in a variety of prayer experiences and being able to celebrate Mass with them in Catherine’s home. Through that experience, my love for Catherine and my appreciation for her life deepened considerably.

Since then, I begin each day with Catherine’s prayer called The Suscipe:  “My God I am yours for time and eternity. Lord I am Yours forever.”  I keep her prayer card  in my breviary. I also have that prayer set to music on a CD that I use at priest retreats and meetings. In addition I often speak about Catherine at parish liturgies.  She has become a member of our parish-family.

On April 23, 2006 our parish celebrated the dedication of our new church. I requested and received a relic of Catherine McAuley that was placed in our new altar. Often as I celebrate Mass and kiss the altar my thoughts turn to this incredible woman of faith.

In fact she continues to inspire us to this day. I credit our parish Hospitality Ministry to her example and intercession. It had always been my prayer and hope that in our large parish of over 4500 families we would be able to offer hospitality to those who visit us. Through Catherine’s intercession that prayer has been realized with hospitality ministers greeting everyone at each of our seven weekend liturgies as congregants enter our parish church. In addition our Bereavement Committee offers hospitality to all families that celebrate the funeral of a loved one by providing a reception for all guests either at the family home or in our pastoral center.  These wonderful parishioners go to the home of the grieving family, while they are attending the funeral, and there prepare and then serve a marvelous buffet luncheon. In addition they make certain that everything is cleaned and returned to the way it was before the reception so the family can greet and welcome their guests with no worries. If a family prefers, the reception is held in our lovely social hall. A typical reception will serve 100 people; and it is not unusual for that number to be even higher.

These are small but important ways that I personally and our parish together follow in the footsteps of Catherine and carry her memory in our hearts. Though she has yet to be formally canonized, I believe her to be one of our Church’s great women of faith. I pray that I may live to see the day when the Universal Church recognizes her as Saint Catherine McAuley.

Rev. Msgr. Joseph L. Luca
Saint Louis Church
12500 Clarksville Pike
Clarksville, MD 21029



From New Jersey - 2008

I first learned about Catherine McAuley in my grammar school, in New York, USA, which was taught by the Sisters of Mercy.Even as a young child I found her story of compassion, especially for children, endearing. The title “Mother” seemed appropriate as it summed up her life’s work. Through my experiences with her sisters in the parish I witnessed her chrism and this helped me begin my relationship with this remarkable woman of God.

Later in life I married and moved into a parish in New Jersey that included what is now a Mercy University. In that same university that I received my Masters of Theology. Once again I found myself surrounded by the Mercy tradition. I left my position in New York and accepted a position at a high school as Campus Minister. Our high school was founded in the Mercy tradition and I am privileged to work with her sisters.

It seems that Catherine has been a part of my life and with every experience I have come to know and appreciate her wonderful teachings. I have recently undergone an illness that has been trying. I turned to Catherine at this time and ask for her intercession for healing. Although this time has been challenging, I found a special comfort and peace as I asked Catherine to be with meI truly felt her presence.

I look forward in continuing my work at the high school and with the intercession of Catherine, I am sure that wonderful times lie ahead. I am grateful for the support of her Mercy community and I grow in respect and love each day for life of Mother Catherine cAuley, my intercessor and friend.


From Scotland - 2008

I am writing to enquire about a prayer card that the priest gave to my family to say for me as I was seriously ill with a mystery virus and a high temperature and couldn't say it for myself. One night I could see a face in between the statue of Our Lady that was on my fireplace and a picture of St. Teresa on the wall. It was a lady with a black face. I was telling my family about it and I think they thought it was the high temperature. When I came round after a week or so I was given the prayer card of Catherine McAuley and at the side was the face that I had described. I asked the priest if he knew anything about her and he told me to write to you.


From Ohio, USA - 2007

On Mercy Day, September 24, we Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center, Fremont Ohio)received a letter from a recently decease woman's lawyer telling us that we will be receiving $1,000,000 now and an additional $400,000+ in December when the trust has been settled. I truly believe that Catherine is responsible for this; That it was not a coincidence that we received the letter on Mercy Day. We received the actual check three days later. It would be wonderful to have the final check delivered to us on December 12, but that may be asking for more than necessary for us to believe that this is Catherine's miracle. As all retreat centers we struggle to make ends meet. We have been praying and asking God and Catherine what we are do with this ministry. Catherine said, "If it is of God, it will continue." We have been blessed. This ministry, and our long tradition of Mercy in this little town, will continue into the future. This is Catherine's miracle! Rejoice with us.

Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center Sponsored Ministry of the Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Cincinnati Fremont, Ohio, USA


From New Zealand - 2007

These are a few of the blessings and “little miracles” that I believe are as a result of meditations/prayers invoking Catherine McAuley – especially in regard to our son H.

He is now 31 and I believe is recovering from mental illness exacerbated from drug taking (cannabis) – my husband and I were unaware of the extent of its problems until he returned from overseas eight years ago. Our family had a heartbreaking and stressful time helping him. Then towards the end of 2005, which was about the time I read about Catherine McAuley and decided it was “up to her” to bless H and to, in some way, help himself/us.

Since then he:

  • has re-met a lovely young woman, A (who is a nurse!);
  • has established a committed caring relationship with A;
  • believes he and A have a long term future;
  • has rented a lovely house and garden and has grown a huge vegetable garden;
  • has admitted that dope won’t help;
  • has enrolled back at University and has passed all exams 2006-07;
  • enjoyed summer school and passed two tricky papers;
  • is working part-time and managing work, study, relationships happily;
  • has insights into mental health issues;
  • was recently in the wedding party of a school friend and did “best man duties” exceptionally well.
  • of all – he has become our dear son/brother again. He has a great friendship with his Dad and they talk regularly on the phone about cricket and rugby.

Catherine McAuley has actually been part of our family for years as my sister reminded me. Our cousin was a foundation pupil at McAuley High School in Auckland in the 1960s.

Two aunts and my twin, trained as nurses at the Mater – Mercy Hospital in Auckland, so I guess that influence has always been there – probably my most recent up-dating on her life was when I was teaching at St Matthew’s and we were asked to reflect and research on the founders of our various schools. St Matthew’s was a Mercy Sisters’ school and it was indeed a blessing to find the charism of Catherine McAuley’s religious order was as relevant today as it was when she founded her religious order.

Although I have to protect my son’s privacy through all this, if it was required, I could certainly sign my name to any verifying documentation.

God bless, MM


From New Zealand - 2007

I was introduced to Catherine McAuley by my friend Sister Muriel in Auckland, New Zealand. I read much about Catherine and have become a great admirer of her and what she achieved in a short span of ten years. I, a practising Anglican, pray to her in all my needs.

In my life I have nursed both my father and husband through terminal cancer. I now have developed pernicious anaemia and my mother, who has been living with me for the last twenty years became seriously ill in 2006. She needed constant care and I found this extremely difficult as I no longer had the support I had when nursing my father and husband. I suffered from lack of sleep and physical exhaustion.

Sister Muriel offered to pray for my mother and through the day I often ask Mother McAuley to help me.

Mother had a serious fall and was taken to hospital While there an ultra scan revealed a cancerous growth in her bladder and the doctor suspected that the cancer had spread though her system. As she was close to death I decided not to have further investigations done. I was exhausted, very stressed and hated seeing my mother in this state. I was also warned that extreme pain would start when the tumour closed down the bladder.

The hospital phoned to say that my mother could come home and would I come and collect her. I felt hysterical I was terrified and didn’t know how I would cope. I have never felt so alone and desperate. I saw my picture of Catherine McAuley and she seemed to be looking right at me, she reached out to me and aloud I prayed to her, with very ounce of my being, to help me.

Approximately five minutes later the phone rang. The caller was my cousin, Josie, with whom I do not keep in close touch. She asked me if I knew Barbara P…. I couldn’t believe it as Barbara is a cousin on the other side of my family. We were once very close and I loved her dearly, was a bridesmaid at her wedding. After I married I lived in Australia for seven years and lost touch although I have often wondered where she was. It appears that these two cousins of mine live next door to each other in a country town without knowing the connection. One day Barbara saw Josie in her yard and called out asking if she was busy. Josie responded, yes, that she had two family members very ill. She mentioned Diane and her mother, Pearl. Amazed, Barbara asked for the surname and address. These confirmed that Josie was talking about Barbara’s aunt and cousin also.

Within fifteen minutes of my praying to Mother McAuley Barbara phoned me. I couldn’t stop crying when I heard Barbara’s voice. She said she would drive up next day and stay with me till my mother died.

To me this is a miraculous answer to prayer. I was at a low ebb, terrified and alone. I hadn’t seen my cousin for twenty years and here she was giving me all the support and help I needed.