Mother Mary Bernard Garden (1824 -1893)

By Jean Parkes R S M and Marion Mc Carthy R S M

Margaret Garden was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was the daughter of George and Christine Garden, nee Gordon. We know nothing of her early life, or whether she had any siblings or not, but she became part of our Mercy history, when she entered St. Ethelburga’s Convent, Liverpool, on 14th October 1845, taking the name Sister Mary Bernard of the Crucifixion at her Clothing. However, she was not professed in Liverpool, but in Baggot Street where, because she was a skilled nurse, although still a novice, she had been sent to take care of Mother de Sales White, theLiverpool Superior, who had gone to Dublin to see a Consultant. Mother de Sales White was seriously ill and arrangements were made for her to return to Liverpool. Before that happened, Sister Mary Bernard was professed in Baggot Street by Archbishop Murray of Dublin on 6th July, 1849.

Sister Mary Bernard began travelling early in her Religious life - and she kept going; from England to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales….. From 1849 to 1862 she travelled all over the British Isles several times and in England she was constantly “on the move” founding Convents. It was when she was 46 years old, that Mother Bernard began hermission of founding Convents in the Highlands of Scotland - in Dornie; Elgin; Fort Augustus; Keith; and Tomintoul.

Her last foundation was Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, on 4th October, 1892 when she was 69 and in failing health – she died on 31st July, 1893 - a true missionary and pioneer who was greatly loved.