150th Anniversary of Mother Clare Moore celebrated at St George’s Cathedral

Bishop Paul, Bishop Pat and Abbott Hugh concelebrate a Mass for the 150th Anniversary of Mother Claire Moore

150th Anniversary of Mother Clare Moore

Mother Clare made her final vows in 1833 and was one of the first seven members of the Sisters of Mercy to receive the habit, as well becoming Sister Superior of the Order's first convent in England, located in Bermondsey.

Prior to the service in St George’s Cathedral on 1 July, ten banners were bought in procession by pupils of two schools inspired by the work and spirituality of Mother Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy. The banners represented the 10 Mercy Houses that Mother Clare Moore had been associated with in her life, starting with Bermondsey, from which she then established nine other communities in Chelsea, Bristol, Brighton, Great Ormond Street (London’s first Catholic Hospital since the Reformation), Wigton, Abingdon, Gravesend, Clifford and Eltham.

During the procession, Sister Barbara Jeffrey explained that Mother Clare was a trusted companion of Mother Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831, and appointed Mother Clare as Superior of the Bermondsey community in 1839.

From Bermondsey, the sisters prepared children and adults to receive the sacraments, ran poor schools, and provided spiritual consolation for the sick at home and in Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals. Later in her vocation, at the request of Bishop Thomas Grant, Mother Moore served under Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, nursing wounded soldiers and comforting the dying, Her love for humanity and first-class leadership skills attracted positive attention, and one senior Southwark cleric described her abilities as ‘fit for a king’.

Just before the Mass, Sr Bernadette Holmes welcomed everyone to the service, including hospital chaplains and sisters from around the UK, as well as those joining online. During the service, the combined choirs of St Joseph’s Primary School in Bermondsey and St Mary’s Primary School in Eltham contributed by singing throughout the liturgy, offering a special Communion Song entitled ‘Still’, under the direction of Music Teacher Jennifer McGarry.  Several Sisters offered the Readings, which included a piece of correspondence by Mother Catherine McAuley and the Bidding Prayers.

In his homily, Bishop Pat Lynch, formerly Auxiliary Bishop of the South East Area of Southwark, said of Mother Clare:

"We give thanks for the person she was, and also for the zeal and commitment that she showed in giving witness to God’s love and mercy in so many different places, and in so many different ways."

 At the end of the service, whilst thanking all contributors, Sister Bernie Roche also gave thanks to God for the inspiration of Clare Moore:

“We give thanks to God for Sister Clare Moore for her legacy of service and compassion that still inspires us today”.

The Sisters of Mercy continue to bring compassion and care to those in need within Southwark, the UK and beyond.  The Archdiocese offers warm congratulations on this important anniversary and offers prayers for the continued service and inspiration of the Order.

Images from the Commemorative Mass