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Catherine McAuley was born a Catholic into a family where her father felt strongly to care for the poor and less fortunate while her mother didn’t care for his generosity very much. Luckily, Catherine inherited her father’s empathy and good character to help care for the poor. With that trait, she moved forward to make the world a better place. By doing so, she helped to save and teach millions of young girls and those who were living on the street.
What caused Ms. McAuley to make this bold move? She inherited generosity from her father but what did she get from her mother? Perhaps while her mother sat back and looked on with disgust at what her husband and daughter were doing, she too instilled some traits onto Catherine. Sometimes, it’s easier to do things when someone tells you that you shouldn’t, or that you can’t. Although the video does not directly say that Catherine’s mother forbid her to continue with her father’s work, just knowing how her mother felt could have proved a strong ally in Catherine’s decision to move forward with her vision to create a better, wholesome place where the poor could be fed and young girls taught.
I admire Catherine for her unity with God and the Catholic tradition. Even when faced with criticism of her religion and faith, she managed to stay strong. Even just by doing this—ignoring rude comments, avoiding confrontations about her religion, continuing in her faith—she made an impact almost as great as the one we continue today: she had converted her foster mother to the Catholic tradition on her death bed. Although not given much ‘air time’ in the video, I believe this can be referred to as a significant point in Catherine’s life. After being criticized for her religion and beliefs, I think that being able to have her foster mother converted to Catherine’s religion could have reinforced and increased her self-esteem and belief in herself to accomplish the great tradition we have today.
Lastly, I think that Catherine made a great sacrifice for her cause. Her original plan was to not have any religious ties to her organization and unfortunately that wasn’t a monetarily stable foundation. The greatest sacrifice she made for her organization was when she decided profess her vows and reluctantly take on the name Mother. This is a sacrifice because she had no intention of creating a religious congregation. Some may see this as weakness—professing her vows because of the financial stress of not being a congregation had put on her; however, she did so only to keep her vision going. If she had stood by her decision to not be a religious affiliation, then the Sisters of Mercy would not exist today.
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