Archived News Item

Exploring Catherine’s Letters

In May 2014, a Workshop on the Correspondence of Catherine McAuley is being offered by Michael O’Sullivan.

This workshop will offer an opportunity to explore the range of purpose in Catherine’s letters and to gain some insight into the ecclesial and secular history of the time. In her introduction to the Correspondence of Catherine McAuley 1818-1841, Mary Sullivan rsm writes that what is most moving about the letters of Catherine “is (her) everyday love immersed deep in the human grain of her friends’ and co-workers’ lives”. Texts of her correspondence will be available, so that participants may discover not only the content and style of various letters but Catherine’s perception of the times in which the Sisters of Mercy were founded and the inherent challenges they confronted.

Micheal O’Sullivan has a long association with the Sisters of Mercy, having been educated by the Sisters of Mercy at St Saviours Primary School Toowoomba.  However, it was not until he began working as a teacher alongside the Sisters at St Saviours, that he was inspired by the way in which the Sisters went about their ministry. Then, when he moved to Brisbane, Micheal became an Associate in the first Associate group of the Sisters of Mercy in Brisbane in 1997.

Micheal has developed a lifelong interest in, and deep appreciation of, the life of Catherine McAuley and the early days at Baggot St.  He is drawn to her correspondence and the legacy of her Charism.  Micheal’s life has been  enriched by retreats, reflection days and symposiums exploring Catherine’s Letters facilitated by Aine Barrins rsm, Mary Duffy rsm and Mary Sullivan rsm.
Micheal has completed many retreats at Mercy International, Dublin.  He regularly returns to Baggot St to reconnect with Catherine and replenish and deepen his spirituality.  Micheal is committed to the Mercy Charism in his daily living.   

At home, Micheal offers retreats and reflection days to staff, students and the wider community to promote the story and spirituality of Catherine McAuley.  He has been able to extend their understanding and knowledge of Catherine and the qualities that inspired her deep love of the poor and needy.    Encapsulating the dream of Catherine, he has been able to inspire others.  Micheal has also participated in the Mercy Partners Formation Program, Queensland, whose Mission is to contribute to the emergence of a world where the healing, liberating and life-giving mercy of God is experienced.

Micheal is currently Principal of St Joseph’s Primary School Kangaroo Point. Originally founded in 1870 by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop at the invitation of Bishop Quinn, the Sisters of Mercy took over the leadership of the school.  In this role, he has been able to reinvigorate the Charism of Catherine and the valuable presence and influence of the Sisters of Mercy in the history of the school. 

Micheal has qualifications in Theology, Music, Education and Leadership and as a member of the Canonisation of Catherine McAuley Committee in Australia until 2012, has previously assisted in the organisation of the Catherine McAuley Symposiums.

Further information on the workshop can be READ HERE.