In September 1968 Maricourt began as an eight form comprehensive, the first in Liverpool, and was officially opened by Bishop A. Harris the following July. The building grew steadily over the years and blessing sections of it almost became an annual habit with the Bishop who is due to open the latest addition in 2006.

The school was helped in its earlier years with many devoted Sisters of Mercy whose number has dwindled, but almost from the beginning it has also been blessed with devoted lay staff. These appreciated the aims of the school and the pastoral system has always been among its greatest strengths. As its mission statement declares: ’Maricourt seeks to provide and sustain a living catholic community which is rooted in Christian values and where growth and knowledge, respect, love and friendship are shared by all’

The advent of comprehensive education grants young people an equal opportunity to achieve success in their lives which would have been denied to them in the old system of selection.

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As its Golden Jubilee year draws near it is time to stock take and ask would Catherine McAuley recognise her own mission statement were she to visit Maricourt today.

Thankfully the social deprivation of her time, in the main, no longer exists, but there are many forms of deprivation. So many young people today need the listening ear, the kindly advice and the support of a stable community, gifts which she would have tried to provide, and are still given by those who work in Maricourt .

We do not live in a perfect world and we cannot claim 100% success stories, but in general the pupils cooperate with the Mercy ethos and contribute to it themselves by their general friendliness and willingness to help. They support the ethos by their generous response to charity collections, the existence of an active school council , the development of Mercy Associates, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the annual 6th Form Lourdes group for the help of sick and handicapped children, all of which are very important aspects of Maricourt life.

The decline in vocations has caused some anxiety in recent years but we take comfort in Mother Catherine’s words to the young Fanny Gibson, who became the foundress of the Liverpool Community, when she asked:

‘What would the Order do if you died?’
‘If the Order is my work, the sooner it falls to the ground the better. If it is God’s work, it needs no one’

We are confident that, when the Mercy baton is passed to other hands, its unique spirit will continue to grow and develop and that the existence of the convent itself in the grounds of the school will remain a symbol of mercy hospitality.

Gradually with an educated laity and the onset of old age and sickness the need for Sisters in school has lessened. It is also our aim to try to respond where the need is greatest and this has sometimes meant younger Sisters taking up other areas of ministry. We feel that a tremendous legacy has been passed on and are delighted to know that in many of our schools the Mercy ethos is still alive and well and that in many cases Sisters are now on the Governing body of these schools.