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Catherine McAuleySisters of Mercy of the Americas South Central Community is one of six Communities of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, an international order of Roman Catholic women religious, founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1831 by Catherine McAuley. There are Institutes, Congregations and Federations of Sisters of Mercy in the Americas, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The first Sisters of Mercy arrived in America in 1843 from Ireland and spread across the country, establishing schools and hospitals and ministering to those in need. Today, the Sisters remain committed to deepening their relationship with God and serving others, particularly those who are sick, economically poor and uneducated.

The South Central Community, itself, was formed in 2008. It is composed of the former Sisters of Mercy Regional Communities of Baltimore, Cincinnati/Jamaica, North Carolina/Guam and St. Louis. The South Central Community, with administrative offices located in Belmont, North Carolina, has more than 450 Sisters serving in 24 States in the United States, the U.S. territory of Guam and Jamaica.

For More Than 100 Years...

The former Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina initially came to Belmont, NC in 1892 to open Sacred Heart Academy, but soon expanded their focus to include caring for the sick. Responding to needs of their civic communities, the Sisters opened St. Joseph's Sanitarium in Asheville, NC in 1900 and Mercy General Hospital in Charlotte, NC in 1906.

Eighty-nine years later, Mercy Hospital had become Mercy Health Services, a multi-site system of hospitals, physician offices and outpatient services. In 1995, the Sisters of Mercy decided to move beyond the direct provision of acute health care services in addressing the needs of the unserved and underserved. That year, Mercy Health Services was sold for $115 million and the proceeds from the divestiture were used by the Sisters to create the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation.

Three years later, in 1998, St. Joseph's Hospital, which had been converted from a tuberculosis sanitorium to a general hospital in 1938, was sold for $82 million. These funds were added to the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation's assets.

Continuing to Serve Unmet Needs

Just as Mercy and St. Joseph's Hospitals opened their doors to offer medical care in response to the needs of their civic communities, the Foundation addresses unmet and underserved needs.

The Foundation makes grants on behalf of the South Central Community to support the work of selected tax exempt healthcare, educational and social service organizations which are located in North and South Carolina, with a primary emphasis on the Metrolina and Western North Carolina regions. The Foundation seeks to assist projects which are designed to improve the quality of life for the economically poor, women, children, and the elderly. Special attention will be focused on promoting systemic change.