Sisters of Mercy

The History of the Sisters of Mercy

The roots of Saint Joseph College can be traced to the Sisters of Mercy, a religious order founded in 1831 by Catherine McAuley. The Mission of the Sisters of Mercy was to teach and care for the sick, poor and needy in Ireland. Catherine McAuley’s devotion to the Sisters of Mercy mission quickly spread to England and eventually found its way to the United States.

The first Sisters of Mercy arrived in the United States from Ireland in 1843 at the invitation of the bishop of Pittsburgh, Pa. Their energy in ministering to the sick and economically poor attracted many new members. By 1854, sisters had come from Ireland to settle in New York and San Francisco, Ca., and continued to spread throughout the country, establishing schools and hospitals.

In 1932, the Sisters of Mercy of Connecticut set out on a remarkable journey. Their mission: to establish the first liberal arts college for women in the Hartford area founded on the principles of service and leadership, and determined to develop the potential of women in a complex and evolving world.

Guided by a vision of academic excellence, the College has flourished and is now nationally recognized for its outstanding programs in education, nursing, human services, the humanities and the sciences. Graduates of these Saint Joseph College programs have proven themselves vitally important to the people and the economy of our community and continue to serve in significant ways throughout their lives.

College History


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