“She connected the rich to the poor, the healthy to the sick, the educated and skilled to the uninstructed, the influential to those of no consequence, the powerful to the weak.”

Joanna Regan RSM and Isabelle Keiss RSM,
Tender Courage. p 135

Catherine McAuley’s commitment to education as a means of providing human dignity and self reliance saw her establish educational programs modelled on the most up to date  techniques of her time. She also provided vocational education programs for vulnerable women offering them opportunities for employment and income.

Since the earliest foundations, education has been a significant part of the ministry of Sisters of Mercy. The Mercy tradition has always recognised the importance of education as a crucial way for both children and adults to reach their potential.

In Australia, the Sisters of Mercy have been in the forefront of educational endeavours, particularly through the Catholic School System in both primary and secondary, day and boarding schools, in rural and urban areas.

In addition to involvement in primary and secondary schools across Australia ISMAPNG is involved in a range of educational ministries including pre-school and social skills programs, special education, vocational training, universities, and in parishes and diocesan education programs. ISMAPNG also offers support to pre-school education programs in Timor Leste, and is engaged in the support of vocational training and the education of young women and children in Papua New Guinea.



Featured Ministry

Mercy Education Limited

Mercy Education Limited is the delegated authority which oversees the operation of the Education ministry of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG). Through its Board of Directors, Mercy Education is responsible for the governance and operation of  Mercy Sponsored Colleges owned by ISMAPNG. Mercy Education Limited gives strength, support and solidarity to each of the member Mercy schools – staff, students, College Councils and parents – as the work of Mercy Education continues into the future.

Students at Mercy schools are invited into a lively and rich educational culture which they share with a long line of other women and men who have been educated in the Mercy tradition.

Mercy Schools seek to be schools that are inclusive of all, but where the poor and the marginalised are particularly welcomed. There are a number of targeted programs in our Mercy schools that enable this to occur. Mercy Schools, in the spirit of Catherine McAuley, seek to be places that connect students from a diversity of cultural and socio economic backgrounds as they strive to discover and act on the societal causes of marginalisation. They are schools that promote awareness that we have a responsibility to the earth.

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Featured Program

Seeds of Justice


Seeds of Justice is a Mercy Schools Project, which involves staff and students in deepening their awareness of justice in our times.

The aims of the Seeds of Justice program are:

  • to raise awareness in students, staff, schools and communities of social justice issues of the day and implications of the Gospel;
  • to form school participants in the Mercy story and charism
  • to acknowledge and celebrate social justice dreams and initiatives existing in our Mercy schools and to give them added impetus, theological background and reflective depth;
  • to make valuable new links between Mercy schools’ staff, students and Mercy organisations.


Featured Ministry

Mercy Works

Mercy Works invests in education in a variety of ways in response to local needs. Programs include:


Early childhood learning in Timore Leste, building early childhood learning centres and capacity building programs for school directors and teachers.

Supporting the Home of Hope Childcare Centre in Kiunga, Papua New Guinea.


The Pwakayini program in the Preschool (Bathurst Island) aims to help the children in this isolated location develop social skills and promote reading as an enjoyable family activity.


At Mercy Secondary School Yarapos, Wewak Papua New Guinea, Mercy Works provides financial support for girls to access education beyond Year 10 and has invested in upgrading school facilities to improve boarding facilities, health and hygiene.

  • “Lack of education is as serious as lack of food; the illiterate is a starved spirit. When someone learns how to read and write, they are equipped to do a job and shoulder a profession, to develop self confidence and realise they can progress along with others. Literacy is “the first and most basic tool for personal enrichment and social integration; and it is society’s most valuable tool for furthering development and economic progress”

    Populorum Progressio, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples, 1967. 35