by Joanna Moorhead
THE SISTERS of mercy announced this week they are to pull out of two London schools, following a decision made by their General Chapter to end their involvement with private education.
The sisters' role at St Catherine's Preparatory and Senior Schools in Twickenham, south west London, will end in 1993. Superior General Margaret Mary Kennedy told parents it was with "sincere sadness" that she had to inform them of the decision, but that the sisters' legislative body had instructed a return to work with the poor and powerless.
The schools' governors said in a statement they would urgently explore any possibility of continuing the schools, which have about 470 pupils, after the sisters' departure. The prep was founded in 1914, and the senior school a year later fees range between £511 and £670 a term.
The decision to cut links with private education was made at the Sisters of Mercy of the Union General Chapter in August last year. The order resolved to return to the spirit of its nineteenth-century founder Mother Catherine McAuley, who wanted to help ease the lives of the impoverished.
The order has already announced it will pull out of St John and St Elizabeth's independent hospital in north London (Catholic Herald, November 4) and it is expected that they will have to end their association with another five or six private schools around the country. Among these are the 200-pupil St Antony's prep in Clevedon, Brisol, and St Joseph's in Kenilworth.