Cantley, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

The roots are traced right back to Baggot Street, DUBLIN, from which, in 1855, 5 Sisters came to CLIFFORD - a small Yorkshire village. A branch was sent to Hull in 1857, and in 1867, because of the much greater need there, the remaining Sisters trans­ferred, leaving Clifford vacant. In 1870, in response to a plea from the Bishop of Beverley, four Sisters from the Convent in BERMONDSEY made a new foundation in Clifford; they were Srs M. Clare McDonnell, and companions. After a hundred years in primary and secondary education Clifford was closed in 1970.

DONCASTER, established in 1887, was one of several branch houses set up from Clifford. Here the Sisters valiantly met great challenges including living successively in two dilapidated rat ­infested houses in the Waterdale area. From the outset, their influence in the educational field was profound and greatly appreciated by the Local Education Authority. As Doncaster was a coal mining area there was a tremendous amount of poverty at the turn of the century. All the traditional Mercy ministries, especially that of visitation of the poor and housebound were carried on as well as full involvement in education at both Primary and Secondary levels, with the community continually adapting to changes in Education Policy. 

In 1970 the community moved to a purpose built convent and school at Cantley, the school having the name of our Foundress, ‘McAuley High School’. For many years the community continued in their varied Mercy ministries, visiting prisons, working with travelling communities at their sites, hospice work, to mention but a few.

Our Mercy Ministry now is centred on the care of the elderly, sick Sisters of our Institute for whom the house has been adapted. We provide 24 hour care with the help of our carers and involve the local elderly community with Day Care every Tuesday when they are collected by bus at the community’s expense and join with the Sisters in enjoying a good meal and social activities.

We continue our ministry by being a prayerful presence for the needs of all and feel that Venerable Catherine would have approved of this expression of Mercy hospitality!