September 24 is Mercy Day, a worldwide date of celebration for the Sisters of Mercy and all Mercy affiliated ministries. As this falls during our school holidays, Mount Lilydale Mercy College celebrates on the second-last Friday of Term 3.
The origins of celebrating Mercy Day dates back to 24 September 1827, when on this day the house on Baggot Street in Dublin was officially opened to educate poor, young girls, and board homeless girls and women.
Catherine McAuley's first coworkers, Anna Maria Doyle and Catherine Byrn, were the first to move into the house on that day, as Catherine was taking care of her ill sister. However, she would join Doyle and Byrn nine months later.
The preparation of the house was said to be due for completion on 23 or 24 of September, and according to the Bermondsey annals, "Miss Doyle, though she did not know then of the feast, fixed on the 24th, but in another note remarked that she would be particularly rejoiced to begin her labours on that day as it was dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, suggesting at the same time that House of Mercy would be a good name for the institution".
So the first Mercy Day seems to have been guided by God's providence! We are here reminded of God's promise to Isaiah: "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (43:19) and of Catherine's own words, "There has been a most marked Providential Guidance... and it is here that we most clearly see the designs of God". (Letter to Elizabeth Moore, 13 January 1839).
“The poor need our help today, not next week.” — Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy
Mercy Day is a community-building day, combining fun, a celebration of our heritage and the provision of support for those in need through fundraising. Mercy Day is one of the reasons why the atmosphere in our school is a very happy and positive one. We celebrate and work together, and we build community which in turn builds an environment that supports learning and spiritual development.
All profits from the day are donated to a Mercy organisation to support people who are in need. In recent years we have supported Mercy Works, an organisation that partners with communities to promote justice, self-reliance and to support displaced people. They work with communities who are denied access to basic human needs such as education, health care and social welfare.
On the Wednesday before Mercy Day there is a Liturgy at the local cemetery in honour of past Sisters of Mercy.
On Mercy Day we begin with a celebration of the Eucharist uniting us all in faith and reminding us of the reason for our existence as a Catholic school in the Mercy tradition.
The day then continues with activities, food stalls and a talent show and finishes with a parade of all our Year 12 students who have worked hard all year on their themes and costumes.
Families are invited and encouraged to support Mercy Day through our Parents and Friends Association.