McDarby Institute Reflection: Exploring the Coolock House

A visit to the Callaghan estate revealed the early life of Catherine McAuley.

Our Monday morning began with a wonderful breakfast followed by a presentation by Mary Reynolds, who is the executive director of Mercy International. She told us of the global reach of Mercy throughout the world in 44 countries and all the continents—amazing work that is makings a difference in people’s lives, just as Catherine McAuley did so many years ago. But it was awe-inspiring and, at times, emotional knowing we were sitting in the room that long ago held 200 poor children that had been educated here in this very spot in the House of Mercy!

We shared tea and scones with the sisters here before traveling to Coolock House, where Catherine McAuley spent 19 years of her life taking care of Mr. and Mrs. Callaghan and preparing for what would become her mission in life. Her kindness and devotion were rewarded by being the sole heir of the Callahan’s estate. This fortune enabled her to envision and begin the work she was compelled to do. We sat in her private room where she prayed for help and guidance. It is a sacred space and it was a moving experience for all of us!

After another cup of tea and cookies with the sweet sisters who live there, I left feeling like I knew Catherine in a more personal way. She was a remarkable, spiritual woman.

Our group shared a wonderful dinner together at The Farm Restaurant and discussed the happenings of the day and more. We are learning more about each other sharing this experience together. I am looking forward to tomorrow with anticipation.

More views from the Coolock House, photos by Lisa Sharfstein

Pictured above:  Laurie Petty stands outside the Coolock House while on tour with the McDarby Pilgrimage.

Read more posts from the pilgrimage.

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