A rich history

 

Sisters of Mercy were founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1831 by an heiress Catherine McAuley who used her wealth to help poor women and children in distress. Her work blossomed into a religious order which has spread throughout the world.

The first Sisters of Mercy to reach Australia arrived in Perth in 1846 and other groups soon followed. Ten Sisters came to Singleton from Ennis, Ireland, in 1875 and convents of Sisters of Mercy spread throughout the Hunter Valley.

The Sisters were known for their work in schools, hospitals, orphanages, and later for their missionary endeavours abroad. The Singleton Convent was opened as a “motherhouse” in 1909 and was always cared for as a beautiful home for all the Sisters residing in the Hunter Valley and beyond. Since 1995 the Convent has become known as a beautiful heritage site, open for tours, concerts and other activities.

A community of Sisters still lives in a part of the Convent. The atmosphere is marked by peace and tranquility and an atmosphere of hospitality. Visitors will hear the story of the Sisters of Mercy and walk through their unique and beautiful home. There is much to enjoy.

Within the buildings are treasured memories and marks of a style of life no longer appropriate for modern religious women . The buildings also bear witness to the culture and wisdom of the remarkable women who built them.

The buildings and grounds are spacious, generous, beautiful. Cedar and stained glass, wide verandahs and cloisters, covered walkways and delicate lattices combine to create elegance permeated with warmth.

The Convent houses archives, libraries, a museum collection and the movable heritage of the convent and chapel, all of interest in situ and catalogued to provide a valuable resource for research in the future.

On 12 December 2011 the Sisters of Mercy of Singleton joined with hundreds of other Sisters of Mercy in Australia and Papua New Guinea to form a new National Institute of The Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Singleton Convent and its Sacred Spaces are now under the care of the new Institute and available to all Sisters of the Institute.

Sr Berneice Loch is the new National President of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Sr Helen Owens is the new Regional Leader for the Sisters of Mercy Singleton who now belong to a wider community reaching from Grafton in the north via Gunnedah in the west to Sydney.

Since 1995 thousands of visitors who come for tours, weddings, concerts and other activities have enjoyed these Sacred Spaces which hold this sacred history. All who enter the gates become part of the on-going story of this significant and beautiful convent.

For further information about
the Sisters of Mercy today visit
www.mercy.org.au

A Photographic Journey