The Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy
Would you ever imagine that a Religious Congregation dedicated to the sick and poor would have been founded by a Princess? Yes, that is our story.
She was Princess Teresa Orsini Pamphili. If you had lived in her time, you would have instantly known that she was a very important person, --the longer the name, the more important the person was.
But she was a very concerned person. At the time, there was no organized charity, neither by the state, not by the church. Charitable people initiated or helped in the hospitals that were very primitively staffed. Eventually groups of men and women would get together to support one another in their mission, and, many times, a Religious Congregation would come to life—almost spontaneously. That’ the way we were born.
Teresa was support by Pope Pius VII (if you know a bit of church history, he is the one who was taken prisoner by Napoleon), and on May 16, 1821, her group was formally recognized as the "HOSPITALER SISTERS OF MERCY" (HSM).
The great ideal of the Congregation is clearly expressed in the first page of our Constitution: "TO ASSIST JESUS SUFFERING IN HIS MEMBERS".
Besides the regular vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, like all the other Religious Congregations, we take a special vow of serving in hospitals and other socio-medical activities. We call it the Vow of Hospitality.
We are all professionally prepared with specialized training in the medical field. Some of our Sisters are doctors, some administrators and in general, nurses or social workers. Our Congregation is well focused and easily identified. All our formation and apostolic works are directed to one aim: caring for the sick.
We came to America in 1966, invited by Archbishop Celestine J. Damiano of Camden, New Jersey. We staff and administer two Nursing Homes operated by the Diocese of Camden – Our Lady’s Residence in Pleasantville, and Bishop McCarthy Residence in Vineland. Villa Raffaella is the first community in the United States to be owned and operated by our Order.
We are also very active in Italy, Switzerland, Madagascar, the Philippines, India, and Nigeria where we administer our own hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living residences. Our eyes are now set on Mexico, South America, and expanding into other European and Asian countries.
Because our order draws its members from the many countries we serve, each of our houses sounds like a small United Nations, only with much more love. We enjoy the different cultures and gifts which we all bring to the same mission: “pouring the oil of consolation and the wine of hope” unto a suffering humanity.