Louisburgh Co. Mayo



The Mercy Shield is used as a school crest. At the top of the crest there is a crown bearing the monogram M.R., which stands for Maria Regina, or Mary, Queen. The crown is a symbol of royalty and Our Blessed Lady is our Queen.


The seven bars represent the seven corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Four of the bars are red and three are green, and they are arranged alternatively. The four red bars are taken from the flag of King James of Aragon Spain) who was founder of the medieval Order of Mercy for the redemption of captives. To this newly-founded order the King granted the privilege of adopting his ensign as its special badge. It was from this medieval Order of Mercy that Catherine McAuley got the title of Mercy for the religious order that she founded, namely, the Mercy Congregation. The three green bars represent the three vows taken by all Sisters of Mercy, namely, poverty, chastity and obedience, and also to represent the three additional works they undertake; serving the poor, the sick and the uneducated. These seven bars also signify the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.


The Celtic Cross indicates that the Mercy Order is of Irish origin. The cross is also the symbol of redemption and of the Sacred Passion.


The anchor symbolises strength and testifies to Mother McAulay's unwavering faith and confidence in God.


Misericordia is Latin for Mercy and was the motto that Mother McAuley took to designate the spirit of the congregation she founded.


Sister Catherine McAuley, who said prayer could do more than all the money in the Bank of Ireland, appears on the front of the new Irish £5 note, which was issued recently by the Minister for Finance, Mr. Ahern. He said: "Catherine McAuiey was chosen for the series, not alone to honour her own achievements, but also in recognition of the enormous contribution made by all the teaching, medical and religious orders to the Ireland of today. Sr. McAuley was a religious rebel who went out into the community to visit the sick and poor. She founded the congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, the very order of nuns who are in Castlebar, on the 12th December, 1831, and set up a refuge for orphans and homeless women in Baggot Street, Dublin. She is the central figure on the new banknote, which was designed by the artist Robert Ballagh. It is brown and quite a deal smaller than the £10 note currently in circulation. It features Sister McAuley in the right hand corner with the Mater Hospital in Eccles Street behind her, which was opened in 1861 by the Sisters of Mercy, 20 years after Sister McAuley's death. On the reverse side a classroom scene featuring three young girls, a map of Europe and a verse of "Mise Raifteiri an File."

The old £5 note includes a tacfile mark and a number of security features common to other new notes, a notemark, windowed metal security thread which appears as a continuous line when held against the light, the harp design in the transparent register, latent images of the letters IR and micro-print. The Minister, representatives from the Mater Hospital and the Sisters of Mercy were presented with a framed copy of the note by the Governor of the Central Bank. The Sisters were "delighted" with the note, according to Sister Bonaventure, a spokeswoman for the Sisters: "Now that Catherine McAuley is on the banknote, she is out and about again. She appears on the lowest denomination of the notes and that is the one she would like to be on because it means that she is in the pockets of the poor."


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Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh
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