(from left) Dr. Elizabeth McAuliffe, a Religious Sister of Mercy who directs the certificate of graduate studies program in Catholic School Leadership joins Dr. Tobias (Toby) Stapleton, dean of graduate studies and continuing education, in presenting “175 Acts of Hope” to Heather Strout, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.

To commemorate the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in the United States, Salve Regina’s department of graduate studies and continuing education organized a campus-wide effort to  collect “175 Acts of Hope” in the form of non-perishable food items that were then presented to Newport’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center to bolster its food pantry.

Dr. Tobias (Toby) Stapleton, dean of graduate studies and continuing education and Dr. Elizabeth McAuliffe, a Religious Sister of Mercy who directs the certificate of graduate studies program in Catholic School Leadership, presented the “175 Acts of Hope” to Heather Strout, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.

“We are filled with gratitude and awe for our ancestors in Mercy, the seven founding sisters who first brought the mercy charism to Pittsburgh in 1843,” said Sister Patricia McDermott, president of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. “As we embrace anew our Critical Concerns through the lens of nonviolence, participation in these acts will not only help us to grow in our personal practice of nonviolence and peacemaking, actively collaborate with communities and organizations that foster peace and nonviolence and work to change violent systems and structures, but ideally impact real change.”


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After first settling in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21, 1843, Sister Frances Warde joined with four other sisters to arrive in Providence in 1851 and then in Newport in 1854. Rhode Island granted a charter to the Sisters of Mercy in 1934 to establish Salve Regina, which opened in 1947 with 58 students.

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