Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland. McAuley sought, through her service to the poor, sick and uneducated, to reveal the mercy of God in our world. With a particular concern for women, she endeavored to help them recognize their inherent dignity and become self-directing and self-sustaining. Education was at the heart of this effort, as was a desire to meet needs not being addressed by others.

The sisters arrived in Pittsburgh in 1843 and began responding to needs, including:

  • Education: founded St. Mary’s Academy
  • Healthcare: founded Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh (now UPMC Mercy)
  • Baccalaureate level education for women: founded Mount Mercy College (now Carlow University) Sept. 24, 1929 

These Mercy traditions of a focus on the concerns of women and of response to unmet needs have become hallmarks of the University.

During Founders Week in 2008, Carlow University dedicated a plaque honoring the 223 Sisters of Mercy who have served the University and the Campus Laboratory School as faculty, staff and trustees. Read their inspiring stories

Carlow University is now sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas through the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. The conference, composed of 16 Mercy-sponsored colleges and universities, was created for “the preservation and development of the core Catholic identity and mission of Mercy higher education in accord with the spirit, mission and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy.”

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A Sisters of Mercy statue is seen through a top window and reflected below.
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