Dedicated to building a more just and merciful world, hundreds of students, faculty and staff participate each year in Carlow University’s Mercy Service Day. This special event takes place at the beginning of each academic year and connects community organizations around southwestern Pennsylvania to the Carlow community. Mercy Service Day is designed to help all first-year students immerse themselves in Carlow’s long tradition of service.

The University’s commitment to service began with Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831. In 1843, Frances Warde and six other sisters from Carlow, Ireland, traveled to Pittsburgh, where they founded the first American congregation of the Sisters of Mercy.

Students wearing purple Mercy Service Day T-shirts are hard at work on landscaping improvements.

These seven Sisters of Mercy:

  • Established and staffed numerous schools
  • Established an orphanage
  • Established Mercy Hospital (now UPMC Mercy), the first hospital in Pittsburgh and the first Mercy hospital in the world
  • In 1929 founded Mount Mercy College, which later became Carlow University

Sisters of Mercy are committed to compassionate and caring service of people who are poor, sick and uneducated, regardless of race, nationality, age, gender or religion. 

Nearly 100 people wearing orange hairnets stand at tables packing food supplies for Mercy Service in Action.
Volunteers pack drygoods for distribution in Western Africa and in Carlow’s own food pantry at Carlow’s Day of Service.
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