The Parish of Muckno, Co. Monaghan, will mark the contributions of the Sisters of Mercy to the parish and wider community by unveiling a specially-designed commemorative plaque. The unveiling will take place following a Mass of Thanksgiving in the recently-refurbished Saint Mary’s Church, Castleblayney, at 7pm on 22 March 2019.
The Sisters of Mercy came to Castleblayney from Enniskillen in September 1905 at the request of the then Parish Priest of Muckno, Canon James Meegan. They established a Girls National School and, later, a secondary school at Laurel Hill in the town. Today, Our Lady’s Secondary School, the Convent Girls School and the Junior School continue to fulfil their mission in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy.
The Sisters of Mercy also played a crucial role in pastoral care and social work. When the old Workhouse in Castleblayney became the County Home in 1926, the Sisters of Mercy took charge of the nursing care. As the County Home evolved into what is today Saint Mary’s Hospital, the sisters continued their ministry of care there until the late 1990s.
In parish life, the sisters played a big part in catechising and in preparing liturgies, notably the choirs. One sister of note in this regard was the late Sister Ursula Traynor who was organist at Saint Mary’s Church from 1949 until 2006.
Following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the Sisters of Mercy undertook a journey of renewal in the spirit of their founder, Catherine McAuley. Through Parish Sister, Sister Céline McArdle, a range of new ministries in the parish and wider community were established. From these sprang initiatives such as the Blayney Blades, Íontas and the Castleblayney Trust, leading to a wide range of actions in areas from childcare to housing, the environment and the arts. While the Convent itself is now closed, there are still two sisters living and actively involved in the Castleblayney community.
Bishop Larry Duffy, Bishop of Clogher and a former curate in Castleblayney, will preside at the Mass while the Chief-Celebrant will be Canon Shane McCaughey Parish Priest, Castleblayney. They will be joined by an assembly of other priests, religious as well as the many lay people from Blayney who have been educated and influenced by the Sisters of Mercy over the years. All will be welcomed afterwards to the Íontas Centre for refreshments and entertainment.