www.mercy.org.au is the website hub which links the four Mercy groups who comprise all of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Call to Reconfigure
This new context for the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and Papua New Guinea developed from the call for a reconfiguring of the Congregations who formed the previous Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia. This call was seen as moving towards a more life-giving way of being in communion with each other for the sake of the Mercy mission.
Between 2005 and 2010 there were six major consultations. All sisters were encouraged to participate in these, as well as in processes in their home groups which demanded deep discernment and included the canonical requirements of formal voting.
Decision for Change
By the time of the Sixth Institute Chapter in September 2010, 15 of the Institute's members had decided to reconfigure themselves into one congregation. These groups were the Congregations of Adelaide, Ballarat East, Bathurst, Cairns, Goulburn, Grafton, Gunnedah, Melbourne, Perth, Rockhampton, Singleton, Townsville, West Perth, Wilcannia-Forbes and the Autonomous Region of Papua New Guinea.
Early in 2011, the Institute and the 15 groups, each having obtained the required voting results at its own chapter, petitioned the Holy See for permission to be dissolved in order to form one new congregation.
The decrees of approval were issued in July for implementation at the commencement of the congregation's first chapter on December 12, 2011, the 180th anniversary of the founding of the Order of Mercy by Venerable Catherine McAuley in Dublin. The new congregation is known as Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Four Autonomous Congregations
Now the former Institute has reconfigured into four autonomous congregations, the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea and three others, who through the time of reconfiguring, chose to retain their independence. These are the:
These four groups continue to be united with each other through the enduring inspiration of Catherine McAuley, their shared history, their collaboration in works of mercy, the theological section of their constitutions and many strong friendships among the sisters.