The Order of the Merciful Christ

A Celtic Christian Religious Order of Mercy

Our History

The Order of the Merciful Christ was born of a dream and a love of the charism of Mercy.  The influence was that of Mother Catherine McAuley of Dublin, Ireland, the foundress of the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

Her religious family served the needs of women and the poor of Ireland, and eventually spread to every part of the world.  Their works of mercy are myriad and one does well to read their various histories.  Biographies of Mother Catherine McAuley will leave a reader filled not only with admiration and gratitude that God gifted this world with such a saint to serve in Mercy, but a desire to do one's part to serve as well.

The OMC was founded by Mother Cait Finnegan, and intended to offer both married and celibate men and women the opportunity to vow themselves to Christ's Gospel of Mercy.  In addition, it was her hope to open this religious order to those who profess the catholic faith as expressed in the historic creeds of the universal Church.  As such, this ecumenical order welcomes members from various Christian traditions and rites, as a witness to the Unity of Faith to which the Church is called. 


Mother Cait made a trip to Dublin to pray at the grave of Catherine McAuley for guidance in her personal life, and clarity regarding        her desire to live a life of Mercy.  This desire, in her since her earliest youth, grew stronger as she grew older, never leaving her although she was married and a mother.  She worked as a chaplain, and with abused women, always praying to Mother McAuley and experiencing the spiritual  friendship they shared since Cait's youth.  She saw Catherine's very Celtic Christian spirituality in her vision of religious life, and her original foundation of the Sisters of Mercy, and drew her inspiration from that.

Choosing the ancient Rule of St. Columba, in 1998 Cait adapted it for contemporary life and emphasized the charism of Mercy within it, combining the spirit of Columba and Catherine McAuley in the Rule of Life she chose.  This Rule was accepted and blessed by the bishop of the Celtic Christian Church for those who might join The Order of the Merciful Christ.

On May 1, 1999 Mother Cait professed perpetual vows in the woods of Delaware State Forest in Pennsylvania, and began the OMC with the encouragement of those in her Church who were present.

This vision has been blessed. 

We have built a spiritual community.  We have had members join and then leave, as well as members who have felt called to perpetual commitment.  Each person brings a treasure to share, and we are grateful to God for this gift.  In each case, we have been blessed by every member and his or her spiritual and temporal gifts.

Our community is young and small.  We have shared several years of growing pains and joys, and shared visions, and have tried to remain flexible and open to the work of the Holy Spirit so that we might walk forward with Christ as we are called.  We are committed to one another, and grateful for a call to live a life of Mercy.  

Our history is brief but rich.

St. Ciaran's House of Prayer serves as our Mother House in the Pocono Mountains of PA. Click here for a history of our Mother House, and how it came to be.


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