An Independent Catholic Girls Secondary college - Day and Boarding

Where Ambition Meets Compassion


Our Mercy Tradition

When the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Townsville in 1878, they recognised the importance of providing an education for young women that would enable them to assume their role in society with confidence and to be initiators of change within the spirit of the Mercy tradition.

The Mercy tradition is based on the values of compassion, respect, integrity, justice, hope and joy, as inspired by Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy. This tradition remains strong in the culture of St Patrick’s College today. Our students are encouraged to learn about these values, to understand their meaning and to apply them to their everyday lives – in how they respect themselves, others and the world around them.

We warmly welcome girls from all cultures and faiths, contributing to our College culture of international-mindedness where tolerance, respect and understanding are rigorously promoted.

At St Patrick’s College Townsville, we are proud of our Mercy tradition and strive to educate our girls to be women of mercy in how they think, act, learn and grow.

Catherine McAuley

Our St Patrick's College history is due to the vision and work of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy - the Religious congregation who established the College in 1878.

Catherine was born in Ireland in 1778 and after the death of her parents, went to live with relatives who were strongly anti-Catholic. As a faithful Catholic person, Catherine found this very difficult, however through this experience she developed a spirituality based on God's mercy. She found "peace in the Cross, joy in suffering, prayer in action and action in prayer." (Bolster, "Catherine McAuley).

When Catherine was 25, a retired Quaker couple invited her to live with them. On their deathbeds, the couple converted to Catholicism and bequeathed their entire estate to Catherine. With this inheritance, Catherine built a house on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland and began to look after impoverished girls. The first House of Mercy opened on September 24, 1827, the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy.

Encouraged by the Archbishop, Catherine and two other women professed their vows on December 12, 1831 and so began the Sisters of Mercy. Attracted by her spirit and works of mercy, other women came to work with her and by the time of her death in 1841, there were one hundred Sisters of Mercy in ten foundations.

In 1990, Pope John Paul II declared Catherine McAuley "Venerable". Click here for more information on Catherine McAuley and the work currently underway to have her declared a Saint.

“The simplest and most practical lesson I know ... is to resolve to be good today - but better tomorrow.” Catherine McAuley


Contact Us

St Patrick’s College Townsville
45 The Strand (PO Box 721)
Townsville Qld 4810

College Administration:
T (61) 4753 0300
F (61) 4753 0336
Email Administration

College Absence Line: 47530377

CRICOS No: 03317K

Call in and visit us on Townsville’s Strand beachfront...Where Ambition Meets Compassion

A Ministry in Mercy Partners