Catherine Elizabeth McAuley (29 September 1778 – 11 November 1841) was born in Dublin, Ireland to James and Elinor Conway McAuley. In 1822 Catherine inherited a considerable fortune and used it to build a house where she and other compassionate women took in homeless women and children and provided them with care and education for. In 1831 Catherine founded the Sisters of Mercy. Catherine lived ten years as a Sister of Mercy under the name Sister Mary Catherine but in that short time established twelve foundations in Ireland and two in England. At the time of her death there were 150 Sisters of Mercy. Shortly after Catherine’s death small groups of Sisters of Mercy left Ireland to establish new foundations in the United States, in Newfoundland, Australia and Argentina and are associated with education, healthcare, social welfare and other good works. In 1990 Pope John Paul II officially recognised Catherine McAuley’s heroic virtues and declared her Venerable thus placing her on the path towards possible sainthood in the Catholic Church.