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Ellen Whitty



In religion Mary Vincent, born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, a village seven miles form the town of Wexford, 1 March, 1819; died at Brisbane, Queensland, March, 1892. She was one of the principal assistants of Mother Catherine McAuley in establishing the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy. St. David's Well, which has lately become again the object of extraordinary devotion, lies besides her father's land; it is dedicated to St. David of Wales, said to have been the confessor of St. Aidan of Wexford. Of her sisters one became also a Sister of Mercy; the other married the brother of the famous convert and publicist, Frederick Lucas. Father Robert Whitty, S.J., was her brother. In 1839 she joined the infant community in Baggot Street, Dublin, and was trained by the foundress. She was made mistress of novices in 1844, and in 1849 superior general, third in succession to Mother McAuley. While she was superior, the Crimean War was carried on, and she offered the services of her nuns to nurse the sick and wounded soldiers. Her sister Mary Agnes was one of those who went to the seat of war. In 1861 she yielded to the appeal of Dr. James Quinn of Dublin, a member of a priestly family, who had been appointed the first Bishop of Brisbane in Queensland, the northern part of New South Wales. The new diocese, as large as France, Spain, and Italy together, had then only two priests and four churches. It now forms three well-equipped dioceses. Mother Whitty herself led her band of missionary sisters to their new sphere of labour, which they reached on 10 May, 1861. There she toiled with untiring devotedness for the rest of her life, founding more than twenty convents before her death.

MORAN, History of the Catholic Church in Australia; CARROLL, Leaves = from the Annals of the Sisters of Mercy.

Matthew Russell.








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