Sisters of Mercy celebrate 150 years in Wellington


On Tuesday 14 June Sisters of Mercy celebrated 150 years since the arrival of the first Mercy Sisters in Wellington. A Thanksgiving Mass was held in Wellington’s Sacred Heart Cathedral in Thorndon.

Congregation Leader, Anne Campbell rsm said the event was a chance “to wrap our memory cloak around us, and to slip into the folds of a precious legacy”.

“It was a time to bow our heads in gratitude and to raise them to welcome new horizons of Mercy today,” she said.

On 14 June 1861 three Sisters of Mercy arrived in Wellington by steamer from Auckland in response to a request from Bishop Philippe Viard.

The trio was lead by English woman, Mother Bernard Dickson, who had served with a group of Irish Mercy Sisters nursing wounded soldiers in the Crimean War. With her were Irish-born Sr Augustine Maxwell and young French postulant, Sr Marie Deloncle.

They took responsibility for the small school in Thorndon and the Providence, an orphanage for Maori girls. From these beginnings the Sisters founded more than 40 schools in the dioceses of Wellington and Palmerston North and developed ministries throughout the two dioceses.

Find out more about Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Sisters of Mercy New Zealand