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Frances Warde: The Great Mother


Catherine McAuley is the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, but do you know who Mother Frances Warde is?

Frances met Catherine McAuley when she was 17 years old and Frances helped with the ministries at Baggot Street Convent in Dublin, Ireland. Yes, that’s where our connection to Baggot Street comes from. 

Catherine named Frances as the first superior of the foundation to Carlow in 1837. Later, American Bishop Michael O’Connor pleaded with the sisters to join him in his mission in western Pennsylvania and Frances Warde was named superior. Once in America, Frances led foundations to Chicago, Illinois (1846), Providence, Rhode Island (1851), Manchester, New Hampshire (1858), and Bangor, Maine (1865), to name just a few. (Frances, the American founder of the Sisters of Mercy.)

In 1878, Frances sent a group of sisters to labor among the Indigenous peoples in Maine. Frances made her first visit to these missions in the “early summer” of 1879. The chief crossed in his own canoe to be the first to welcome “the great Mother.”

This excerpt is taken from: Stories of the Sisters of Mercy and is written by Sister Julia Upton.

⇒ Read more of this story from the Sisters of Mercy