Blessed Catherine McAuley
Blessed Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831. Catherine recognised the needs of those who were marginalised and oppressed by unjust social attitudes and practices of the day. She responded by establishing a House of Mercy in Dublin which provided educational, religious and social services for women and children who were at risk of homelessness through exploitation and entrenched poverty. She was a strong woman full of compassion who contributed to the community in a powerful manner
St Mary of the Cross Mary MacKillop
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Australia’s first saint, co-founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart in 1866 with Fr. Julian Tenison Woods. Together they established a religious house, followed by schools and orphanages. At times, Mary faced opposition to her work from others; she suffered ill health and travelled vast distances across the new Australian landscape, but she never turned on her attackers, and never gave up, continuing God’s work, therefore showing true forgiveness and resilience. She was a great Australian woman inspiring strong dedication to God’s work in the new colonies of Australia. Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop did this in a way that demonstrated perseverance and commitment to education.
Blessed Edmund Rice
Blessed Edmund Rice was originally from a wealthy family in Ireland in the late 18th century. However, as he grew up and began to look at the injustices of the society he was in, Rice began to forsake his wealth and in 1802 he began a religious order – the Christian Brothers. Edmund worked with the poor and the needy at that time in Ireland, focusing on charity and education. Edmund’s vision was for education as a tool for social justice and his schools promoted social justice in all its forms. Edmund sought to lift up the poor, not just materially, but spiritually. The story of Blessed Edmund Rice is synonymous with the term social justice.