The legacy of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland dates back to the early 19th century when a dedicated young woman named Catherine McAuley chose to devote her life and personal resources to helping sick, poor and uneducated people in Dublin, Ireland.
Born into a wealthy family and heir to a sizable estate, Catherine created the "House of Mercy" on Baggot Street in Dublin in 1827. Soon afterward, she trained a group of women to assist her in aiding the needy. Together they provided shelter, medical attention and education to the many who sought refuge in the House of Mercy. Later, Catherine and her companions took their religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, adding an additional vow-to care for the poor, sick and the uneducated. In 1831, they became known as the Sisters of Mercy.
Catherine's power and conviction never wavered and during the next 10 years, her mission spread into new areas. She established 12 of the 14 original foundations of Mercy in Ireland and England and appointed a sister to lead in each community. Traveling among the various communities, she advised her leaders and remained a source of strength, wisdom and caring to all who came in touch with her. After Catherine's death in 1841, her colleagues carried on her mission.
In 1843, several Sisters of Mercy came to the United States where they continued the work started by Mother McAuley. Today in the United States, the Sisters of Mercy sponsor health care facilities, colleges and secondary and elementary schools. They are also involved in a variety of ministries, including shelters for the homeless and parish ministry.
The Sisters formed St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac in 1927. Charged with continuing the ministry and tradition of the Sisters, our hospital, known today as St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, is committed to the values of mercy, respect for human dignity, justice, service and concern for the poor.
To continue this mission in today's health care environment, an exciting development has occurred within Mercy Health Services.
The Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Detroit and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross have now consolidated their health ministries-Mercy Health Services and Holy Cross Health System-to form a new system. Called Trinity Health, this new system will be sponsored by Catholic Health Ministries. The spirit of this new organization arises from the healing ministry of the Church. The creation of Trinity Health affirms the belief that Catholic health care has a vital future in this country.