A Community of Mercy
Following the destruction from World War II on Guam, Bishop Apollinaris Baumgartner wrote to religious communities of women in the United States seeking help to rebuild religious formation and general education on the island. First to respond were the Sisters of Mercy in Belmont, North Carolina.
Sisters Mary Inez Underwood, Mary Annette McBennett and Mary Louise Wiesenforth arrived on November 5, 1946, marking the opening of a whole new world, a whole new reality for education, and living the Catholic faith. For almost 75 years, the sisters have contributed significantly to building Catholic education on the island.
In 1949 the sisters co-founded the Academy of Our Lady of Guam and the Cathedral Grade School, among the first Catholic schools on the island. Infant of Prague Nursery and Kindergarten was the first child-care nursery on Guam, established in 1952, followed by the establishment of Mercy Heights Nursery and Kindergarten. Through the years, the sisters have stewarded three archdiocesan elementary schools and an all-girls high school along with two sponsored ministry child care centers. Sisters have served in parochial, pastoral, medical and social ministries within archdiocesan, parish and island-wide entities on Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands. in Chuuk of the Federated States of Micronesia and Wake Island.
Today, the Sisters of Mercy on Guam strive to address the Critical Concerns of Mercy and continue the legacy of Catherine McAuley on this U.S. territory and neighboring islands in the Western Pacific.
On September 1, 2008, the Guam Region, as part of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Regional Community of North Carolina, joined the South Central Community. As of July 1, 2019, in the new Institute structure, the Guam Community and its leaders have a direct relationship with the Institute Leadership Team. Despite the shift in governance and authority, Guam retains a special relationship with South Central, particularly the local community in North Carolina from which they were founded in 1946.