The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Nod to Irish

Published March 26, 2024

Babies born at Mercy hospitals, including Fort Smith and Rogers, March 17 received a green onesie with a shamrock to celebrate both their arrival on St. Patrick’s Day and Mercy’s Irish roots. St. Patrick is credited with using the three-leaf shamrock as a symbol of the Holy Trinity — Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Mary Beth Bulte, Mercy vice president of mission and strategic initiatives, said, “With its ties to joy and festivity, we thought it was a fun way to celebrate new life and our Irish heritage, as well as the unique history of the Sisters of Mercy, who began caring for women and children in Dublin, Ireland, almost 200 years ago. Our sisters were known for their devotion and their joy, and they were one of the first religious orders to insist on a life that wasn’t cloistered so they could be out in the community serving those in need.” 

Catherine McAuley, Mercy’s founder, opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin in 1827. In 1843, the Sisters of Mercy came to the United States. A group of sisters first arrived in Arkansas in 1851 and settled in Fort Smith in 1853, where they served as educators and eventually as nurses during the Civil War.