Celebrating National Nurses Week: Sister Recounts Mercy Heritage
During National Nurses Week, Sisters of Mercy salute all nurses, including the many Mercy sisters, associates and staff, who work tirelessly as healthcare providers, educators and in other multiple nursing roles. National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, May 12. The theme of this year’s national Nurses Week celebration is: “Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care.”
Sister Charlotte Young, RSM, MSN, took time to reflect on her own experience as a nurse and to recall the rich history of the Sisters of Mercy in nursing. A 1960 graduate from Mercy Central School of Nursing, Grand Rapids, MI, Sister Charlotte received her BSN from Mercy College of Detroit in 1967 and her MSN from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI., in 1972. Her nursing experience ranges from serving as a medical surgical staff and head nurse to teaching medical surgical nursing. Over the years, she continued to use her nursing background while working in other healthcare positions. Today, she is a guest lecturer at McAuley School of Nursing of the University of Detroit Mercy.
Mercy Nurses - A Grand Heritage
By Sister Charlotte Young, RSM, MSN.
From the time I was a little girl, I knew that I was going to be a nurse. My older sister had a brain tumor and my planwas that I would be a nurse and take care of her. While I did become a nurse, my sister did not survive. However, she is the catalyst that keeps me loving nursing.
As the celebration of Nurses Week draws near, I reflected on my many experiences as a nurse and what a wonderful and giving ministry it has been. Intrigued by the rich history of Sisters of Mercy and their contributions in the field of nursing, I decided to do some research.
From our Mercy Heritage, I have always thought being a Mercy Nurse was special. After reading the history of Mercy Nurses, I have an even greater appreciation of what a wonderful heritage we have in our Mercy Nurses. In the spirit of National Nurses Week, I would like to share some of that heritage.
Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland , on Dec. 12, 1831, and immediately the Sisters began the visitation of the sick in their homes. The first hospital nursing for the Sisters of Mercy was during the cholera epidemic in 1832. In her book “The Path of Mercy the Life of Catherine McAuley,” Mary C. Sullivan recounts the long hours that Sisters spent at the Depot, Townsend Street, a hospital for cholera victims. The Sisters worked in shifts, and even with Catherine’s fear of contagion and death, she rarely left the hospital. Stories that have been handed down in Mercy history recount that the Sisters were so tired when they came home at night, that they would fall asleep on the stairs. Mary Anne Doyle spent so much time on her knees going from one patient to another that her knees began to swell. Catherine, to cheer up Mary Anne, playfully named the knees Cholera and Cholerene(1)