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MERCY


201


MEREDITH


On the 22 December, 1843, the sisters opened the first house of the congregation in the United States. In 1844 they opened tlie parocliial school attached to the cathedral. In 1845 St. Xavier's Academy and Board- ing-school was begun. In 1846 the sisters took charge of the orphans, and on the first day of the year 1847 the first hospital in Western Pennyslvania was opened under their management. In 1846 Pitts- burg sent out its first foundation to Chicago under Mother M. Agatha O'Brien. This was in reality the second house of the congregation asked for in the United States, although it could not be opened until several months after the New York community had crossed the ocean. In 1850 at the request of Bishop O'Reilly of I^ittsburg, the sisters opened a school in Providence, Rho(k' Island. This state was considered the most bitter opponent of Catholicism in the Union, and the most l)itter people in the state were thought to be concentrated in its capital; accortlingly this foundation calict! for heroic souls, and one of the fore- most of these was Rev. Mother Warde, who had just resigned the office of superior in the Pittsburg com- munity. In 1855 Pittsljurg sent out its third foun- dation to Baltimore at the solicitation of the Rev. Edward McColgan. Towards the close of 1845 Bishop Hughes of New York applied to Baggot Street, the mother-house of the entire congregation, for sisters for his diocese. This was a difficult request to grant, as tliat house had been greatly diminished by the many calls made upon it. The bishop was referred to Mother M. Agnes O'Connor, who had gone to Eng- land for the purpose of opening a new convent there and then returning to Dublin. Upon her consent to return with the bishop, five sisters, a novice, and a postulant from different houses formed her band. Arriving in New York City, 14 May, 1846, the sisters found a temporary home in Washington Place; but two years later secured a larger house at the corner of Houston and Mulberry Streets. In 1869 St. Joseph's Industrial Home for gii-ls was opened on Madison Avenue, corner of Eighty-first Street. They have also opened a Homo for Boys in Tarrytown-on-the- Hudson and a Home for Business Women in West One Hundred and Sixth Street, New York City. Later the community moved to a new building adjoining their Industrial Home for Girls on Madison Avenue. From New York, houses have been established in St. Louis, Brooklyn, Worcester, Greenbush (now Rensse- laer), and in lun-eka, California. The first American postulant to enter the New York house was Josephine, second daugliter of Mother .'^eton, foundress of the Sis- ters of Charity (]f EMin]itsl)urp;. .Maivland. In 1854 the Rev. Hugh ( lallaghrr visited Kinsalc Convent, Ire- land, on the part of Bishop Allemany to procure the Sisters of Mercy for his diocese of San Francisco, Cali- fornia. Among those selected for this mission was Sister Mary Baptist Russell, a sister of Lord Chief Justice Russell of Killowen. From these beginnings, the Sisters of Mercy have spread throughout the world. In Ireland, England, the United States, in Australia, New Zealand, Ncwf(}undland, South America, Mexico, and the West Indies their name is well known.

Statistics. — Number of Sisters of Mercy in the United States of America, 4732 ; pupils in parochial schools, 104,726; orphans and children in institutions, 3834; pupils in academies and high schools, 9967; hospitals conducted by Sisters of Mercy, 53; orphan- ages, 67.

Annals of the Sislers of Mercy; MunpHY, Sketches of Irish Nunneries (London, 1866); Caiieoll. Life of Catherine McAulei/ (London, s. d.); Member of the Order of Mercy, Life of Catherine McAuley. MaRY STANISLAS AUSTIN.

Mercy, Slsters of, of St. Borromeo, originally a pious association of ladies formed in 1626 for the care of the sick in the hospital of St. Charles at Nancy, but constituted a religious community in 1652 after being generously endowed by the father of Emmanuel Chau-


venel, a young advocate who had given his life in the service of the sick. The members placed themselves under the patronage of St. Charles Borromeo, the Apostle of Charity, and adapted the rules and consti- tutions drawn up by Pere Epiphane Louys, Abbot of Estival and Vicar-General of the Reformed Premon- stratensians. By the middle of the eighteenth century the congregation was in charge of numerous hospitals, and shortly afterwards took up as an atlditional task the Christian education of children. During the Revo- lutionary period the members, although dispersed and deprived of their garb, continued their work so heroically as to win the encomiums of their persecutors. On 22 July, 1804, they reassumed their religious habit, obtained the approval of Napoleon, and were soon in a flourishing condition. Their rule, based on that of St. Augustine, received papal appro- bation in 1859, and additional constitutions were con- firmed by Leo XIII in 1892. Their work includes the direction of all manner of charitable institutions, such as domestic and trade schools, homes for first com- municants, protectories, poor-houses, homes for de- fectives, and female reformatories, as well as the care of the sick in their homes. They also have charge of schools, including a number of normal institutes in Austria. Canditlates must spend one year as postu- lants and from three to four and a half years as nov- ices before being admitted to the congregation. The auxihary sisters for the care of the sick renew their vows annually.

There are several entirely independent branches of Borromean Sisters. In 1838 one was establislied by Aloysius Joseph Freiherr von Schrenk, Prince-Bishop of Prague (d. 1849), which was confirmed as a separate congregation in 1841, and now numbers 900 members in 102 houses, chiefly in Bohemia, Moravia, and Upper and Lower Austria. In 1848 Melehior Freiherr von Diepenbrock, Prince-Bishop of Breslau, invited the Prague Borromeans to found a house at Neisse, which, in 1857, was raised to the rank of the mother-house of a separate congregation. Later the mother-house was transferred to 'Trebnitz, and temporarily, during the Kulturkampf, toTeschen, where a provincial house for Au.stria was later established (Lssy). A house of this congregation founded at Alexandria in 1884 was, in 1894, made a provincial mother-house and a noviti- ate for the Orient, with the direction of schools, an asylum for the aged, and a hospice for German pil- grims. Affiliated foundations have been made at Jerusalem (1886), Haifa (1888), Cairo (1904), and Emmaus. The members of the Trebnitz congregation number 1900, in 211 hou.ses. In 1811 a foundation was made from Nancy at Trier, whence the congrega- tion spread to other cities of Western Germany. In 1849 a provincial house was erected at Trier, which, by decree of Pius IX (18 September, 1872), was made the mother-house of an independent congregation. A famous Borromean institution is St. Hedwig's Hos- pital at Berlin, founded in 1S46 by Angelika Esch- weiler. The Trier branch comprises over 1200 sisters in 70 houses. A foundation was also made at Maas- tricht in 1837 by Peter Anton van Baer.

Hist, de la cong. des saurs de St. Charles (Nancy, 1S<.)8); HoHN, Die Nancy-Trierer Borromarinnen (1899); Idem, Bartn- herzige Schweslem von hi. Karl Borromaua 1662-1900 (1900); Heimbucher, Ordcn u. Kongregationen (2 vols., 1S90).

Florence Rudge McGahan.

Meredith, Edward, English Catholic controver- sialist, b. in 1048, was a son of the rector of Landulph, Cornwall. He studied with distinction at Westmin- ster School and in 1665 was elected to a scholarship at Christ Church, Oxford. In 166S he went to Spain as secretary of the ambassador, .Sir Willi;iin ( iodcjiphin, and while residing there emliniceil tlir Catholic faith. He returned to England after three years and engaged in a religious controversy with Stillingfleet (8 August, 1671). In this discussion, an account of which he pub-