The education ministry commenced with the arrival of six Sisters of Mercy, led by Ursula Frayne, arriving in Australia in 1846 and offering education at Victoria Square in Perth, Western Australia. Since that time, over 170 years ago, the Mercy network continues to provide Catholic education for thousands of young people across Australia.
Various forms of governance have existed in Mercy schools over the years and in 2011, when the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG) was formed, Mercy Education Limited (MEL), a company limited by guarantee and constituted under the Corporations Act 2011, became registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The members of the company are the Institute Leader and Council who appoint the directors of the Mercy Education Board to manage the affairs of the Company. The Board exercises all powers and functions of the Company, except those reserve powers which enable the Institute leader and Council to meet their canonical and administrative obligations.
ISMAPNG, through Mercy Education Limited, fully sponsors twelve schools in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia and in addition, co-sponsors one other school in Victoria in partnership with a parish and another religious congregation. Several other schools exist which were previously established or administered by the Sisters of Mercy, but for whom responsibility is no longer held. Many of these schools welcome the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the Mercy ethos and enhance the network of Mercy schools by joining in student and staff activities.
Governance by Mercy Education Limited allows the education mission of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea to continue and reflect the words of the Chapter Statement 2017:
At this time of global vulnerability
God’s transforming mercy
fires our hearts anew with
deeper reverence for all creation.
the despair and suffering of many peoples
and the degradation of Earth,
we are impelled to reflective action for
Sylvia Williams RSM