Mission and History
Sr. Jean Messaros, RSM
Vice President for Mission Integration
The Vice President for Mission Integration complements the President in promoting Misericordia’s Catholic and Mercy identity in University culture, policies, and practices. The Vice President for Mission Integration assists the President by promoting and supporting the University’s planning process and the development of policies
and programs to ensure that they are consistent with the mission of the University. The Vice President for Mission Integration provides leadership, oversight and stewardship for all aspects of the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women With Children Program
and Campus Ministry
Misericordia University is a Catholic, liberal arts-based, co-educational university. It was founded in 1924 as College Misericordia and it is sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. In 1978, the Board of Trustees approved a mission statement that notes the nature and purpose of the College, and in 1994 it was revised as follows:
Misericordia University, a co-educational Catholic university sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of Dallas, is committed to providing quality education to its students and to shaping its educational programs and policies to express the founding Sisters' values and attitudes of mercy, service, justice and hospitality. The university welcomes individuals of all faiths.
The academic development of each student at the undergraduate level is ensured by the university's commitment to provide a learning experience that cultivates higher order thinking skills through the integration of liberal arts and professional studies. To emphasize academic excellence and to develop critical thinking, all undergraduate curricula provide a common liberal arts base, the objectives of which are further developed in the major areas of study. The student's educational program prepares him or her for productive careers and continued personal and professional growth.
Graduate programs at Misericordia University emphasize intellectual discourse and focused academic growth. The cornerstone of each program is instruction and practice in methods of critical thinking that promote research and enhance professional expertise.
As part of its comprehensive educational program, the university is committed to providing a wide range of spiritual, physical, recreational, social, and cultural activities in which all members of the university community can participate.
Misericordia University fosters a cooperative environment in which students, faculty and staff demonstrate personal concern for each individual as a valued member of the university community.
History of the Religious Sisters of Mercy and Catherine McAuley
All Sisters of Mercy worldwide trace their roots to their founder, Catherine McAuley, an Irish Catholic laywoman.
Catherine recognized the many needs of people who were economically poor in early nineteenth century Ireland and determined that she and women like her could make a difference.
Spending her inheritance, she opened the first House of Mercy on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland on September 24, 1827, a place to shelter and educate women and girls. Catherine's original intention was to assemble a lay corps of Catholic social workers. Impressed by her good works and the importance of continuity in the ministry, the Archbishop of Dublin advised her to establish a religious congregation. Three years later on December 12, 1831, Catherine and two companions became the first Sisters of Mercy.
In the 10 years between the founding and her death, she established 14 independent foundations in Ireland and England.
Sisters of Mercy in America
The first Sisters of Mercy arrived in the United States from Ireland in 1843 at the invitation of the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their energy in ministering to the sick and economically poor attracted so many new members that by 1854, sisters had come from Ireland to settle in New York City; Chicago, Illinois; Little Rock, Arkansas; and San Francisco, California, spreading across the country and establishing schools and hospitals. Since then, the works of Mercy have expanded to embrace education, health care and pastoral and social services in hundreds of sites today.
History of Misericordia University
The Religious Sisters of Mercy were founded in Dublin in 1831. The Sisters vowed to be of service to the impoverished, sick and uneducated. The Sisters of Mercy came to the Wyoming Valley area of Pennsylvania in 1875, continuing their mission of praying, teaching and caring for the sick. The sisters quickly established a school for children and soon after, a night school for adults in the established coal mining region. Having secured a strong foundation of Catholic education, the order recognized that a great need was still waiting to be met.
On August 15, 1924, the Sisters of Mercy established Luzerne County’s first four-year institution of higher learning, College Misericordia, on nearly 100 acres of land in Dallas, Pennsylvania, purchased by the Sisters for this purpose in 1914. More than 2,500 people witnessed the dedication of College Misericordia (whose name means “heart of mercy”). That September, 37 students began their studies sharing the sisters’ motto: Mulier Fortis, valiant women trained in scholarship and spirituality. Misericordia was founded as, and continues to be as a university, a broad-based liberal arts and pre-professional studies institution offering superior education to those of all faiths. The university has been co-educational since the 1970s and offers graduate programs as well.
The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Responding to a call to serve the needy of our time. Inspired by the life of Jesus and by our founder Catherine McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy envision a just world for people who are poor, sick and uneducated. The Sisters of Mercy are women of faith who commit our lives to God and our resources to serve, advocate and pray for those in need around the world.
Click here to visit The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas website.
Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns
The Sisters of Mercy were founded out of a deep concern for persons who are poor. Today, that focus is in five “critical concerns” that we address through prayer, attention to personal, communal and institutional choices; education; advocacy with legislatures and other government leaders; and corporate engagement.
Click here to access a .pdf document highlighting the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns.
Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE)
The mission of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education is the preservation and development of the core Catholic identity and mission of Mercy higher education in accord with the spirit, mission, and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy.
Mercy International Centre
Welcome to Catherine's House, the first house of Mercy built by Catherine McAuley in response to the needs of the poor of Dublin. It is home to the Mercy family from all over the world.