“I never wanted to become a nun I only wanted to serve the poor, because that seemed to me what God was asking of me.”

This bank note depicts Catherine McAuley in the traditional religious dress worn by Sisters of Mercy for over 100 years. In the background is Dublin’s Mater Hospital.

1778

Catherine McAuley is born in Dublin, Ireland, on September 29, to a wealthy Catholic couple, James and Elinor McAuley; she is the second of three children.

1802

Catherine accepts an invitation to live with William and Catherine Callaghan, a Quaker couple with no children. She looks after them for almost 20 years until their deaths.

1822

Catherine receives an inheritance from the Callaghans; she and her first companions care for the sick in their homes and in Dublin’s hospitals.

1827

Catherine’s House of Mercy built with her inheritance from the Callaghans opens in Baggot St, Dublin, on September 24 as a place of healing, refuge and education. The house stands in a fashionable area, chosen by Catherine to highlight the needs of the poor.

1831

Catherine and two of her friends take their vows on December 12, as the first Sisters of Mercy. Catherine resolves that her sisters will not be confined within a convent, but will be free to go to wherever they are needed.

1832

A cholera epidemic sweeps through Dublin – Catherine and her sisters work fearlessly in the city’s hospitals.

1838

Ellen Maher enters St Leo’s Convent, Carlow. Accepted as a Sister of Mercy, she takes the religious name of Cecilia and makes her vows in 1840.

1841

Catherine dies after establishing 14 foundations, two of them in England and the rest in Ireland.

1850

Mother Cecilia Maher and seven sisters from Carlow, Ireland, arrive in Auckland on April 9 on board the Oceanie after a journey of eight months. They come at Bishop Pompallier’s invitation, after a request from Maori for wahine tapu, ‘holy women’. They are the first Catholic sisters to reach these shores.

1854

Sisters of Mercy work alongside Florence Nightingale in military hospitals during the Crimean War. One of them, Sr Bernard Dickson, will later work in Auckland and Wellington.

1878

Mother Cecilia Maher dies and is buried in the small cemetery behind St Mary’s Convent in Ponsonby.

1900

Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Hospital opens in Epsom on December 12. Over the next 100 years, it grows to become the country’s largest private hospital.

1918

Sisters of Mercy respond to the flu epidemic sweeping the country; they staff an emergency hospital in Ponsonby.

1952

Mater Hospital opens its first unit for the long-term care of the elderly and dying. This later becomes the Mary Agnes Ward, named after Mother Mary Agnes Canty who helped to found the hospital.

1979

St Joseph’s Mercy Hospice opens at Mercy Hospital, caring for patients with terminal illness and extending the hospital’s commitment to the dying.

1985

Parklands Hospital and Retirement Home is built in Ellerslie.

1990

Parklands is bought by the Sisters of Mercy, to provide care for older people in their own setting. The facility is known first as Parklands Mercy, later as Mercy Parklands.

1999

Mercy Parklands’ chapel is blessed and opened. Its striking stained glass window is designed by Sister of Mercy and well known artist Gael O’Leary RSM.

2000

Sisters of Mercy in Auckland celebrate the 150th anniversary of their arrival in New Zealand. Waiatarua is added to Mercy Parklands’ name, reflecting Mercy’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

2001

After more than a century, Auckland’s Sisters of Mercy sell the surgical services of Mercy Hospital.

2004

A new logo is adopted by Waiatarua Mercy Parklands, depicting a Mercy cross surrounded by a koru; its colours reflect the red of the volcanic eruption which shaped the land, and the blue of the stream that runs through the wetlands nearby.

2005

Ongoing development at Waiatarua Mercy Parklands sees the opening of a four-bed short stay unit. On December 12 Sisters of Mercy from New Zealand’s four foundations become a single Congregation – Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa – Sisters of Mercy New Zealand.

2010

Mercy Parkland’s first Spark of Life Master Practitioner was certified to implement the Spark of Life Philosophy and Whole System at Mercy Parklands.</p>

2012

Wing 2 redeveloped and opened as Dementia enabling environment.

2014

Wing 2 redeveloped and opened as Dementia enabling environment.

New Zealand Aged Care Association Excellence in Care Award Winners in the Innovative Delivery category for Spark of Life Centre of Excellence.

2015

Achieved re-certification as International Spark of Life Centre of Excellence – 2nd consecutive year of status.

Mercy Parklands celebrated its 25 year anniversary.

2016

Achieved re-certification as International Spark of Life Centre of Excellence – 3rd consecutive year of status.

2017

Achieved re-certification as International Spark of Life Centre of Excellence – 4th consecutive year of status.

2018

Achieved re-certification as International Spark of Life Centre of Excellence – 5th consecutive year of status.