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Celebrating the birth of the Venerable Mary Aikenhead

The Venerable Mary Aikenhead was born on 19th January 1787 in Co. Cork, 235 years ago. Born into comfort and privilege, she chose to dedicate her life’s work to the service of others and founded the Religious Sisters of Charity in 1815. Over the past 200 years, congregations in Ireland (1815), Australia (1838), England (1840), Scotland (1948), Zambia (1948), the United States (1953), Nigeria (1961) and Malawi (2011) have been founded in her name and follow her example in caring for the poor.

Annually we celebrate Mary Aikenhead on this day, admire her courage and hold onto to the Spirit which animated her throughout her life. May that Spirit of ‘giving to the poor what the rich can buy for money’ continue to live long into the future.

For further reading on Mary Aikenhead’s life and work, see here.


Join us in prayer to mark the celebration of the birth of our foundress.

Prayer in Time of Need

Loving God

You blessed Mary Aikenhead

With deep faith and compassion

And gave her a special gift of love

For those in any kind of need

With this in mind and through

Her prayer I now ask

With great trust in your love

For me, O My God,

I leave my requests in your hands.


Caption: Superior General Sr Patrician Lenihan joins the Sisters of St Joseph’s Convent, Hackney, for a lunch marking the birth of the Venerable Mary Aikenhead