The school was founded by the Sisters of Mercy and the charism of mercy is foundational and central to everything that we do in our school. It informs our curriculum, our pastoral system and our religious and spiritual life, all of which is inspired by our mission statement.
Venerable Catherine McAuley
In September 1827 Catherine McAuley established a ‘House of Mercy’ in Baggot Street, Dublin, Ireland. There she and several companions provided food, clothing, housing and education for many of Dublin’s poor women and young girls. In 1831, with the approval of Archbishop Daniel Murray, she and her first companions founded the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy, the house in Baggot Street serving as its first convent.
Over the next ten years, as new co-workers presented themselves, thirteen other convents, two of them in England, were established. Invitations to found further convents were by now reaching Baggot Street from many parts of the world.
Catherine died on 11th November 1841. Within a few decades her congregation had spread worldwide. It is still one of the largest congregations of women religious in the church.
On 9th April 1990, by decree of Pope John Paul II, Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, was declared Venerable, in recognition of her holy life, her love of God and her merciful work among the poor. This is a major step in naming her a Saint.
Maricourt Catholic High School
Maricourt Catholic High School was founded by the Sisters of Mercy on 12th September 1957 under the title of Mater Misericordiae High School with Sister Mary Magdalen as the first head, a position she held for 32 years.
It opened in the convent parlour with only 16 eleven year old girls, but they moved to the first small section of the school in January 1958. This was formally blessed by Cardinal Heenan on 8th March.
Because of the interest taken in it by the Bootle Education Committee, it rapidly grew in building and numbers and became a voluntary aided Grammar School in September 1964, maintained by the Bootle Authority.
The Government, however, favoured Comprehensive education and so, in November 1967, the Archbishop of Liverpool, Dr. Andrew Beck, approached the Sisters to see if they would take over a nearby Catholic Secondary Modern School named St.Pauls and annex it to their building as a Co-educational Comprehensive.
This they agreed to do and, in September 1968, the first Co-educational Comprehensive School in the Archdiocese opened under the new title of Maricourt Comprehensive with Sister Mary Magdalen still as Headmistress. She retired at Christmas 1989 and was followed by Sister Mary Teresa who led the school until 2007. Mr McLoughlin led the school for the next 12 years and following his retirement in 2019, Mr Mangan became the new Headteacher.
Living out the mercy ethos today
We have a rich tradition in Maricourt of living out the charism of mercy in various different ways. Mercy is at the heart of the pastoral structure of the school – students are cared for by having progress leaders and assistant progress leaders that aim to provide person centred care for all the students in their year groups. We also have learning mentors who regularly provide one-to-one support for students when life is proving difficult. Our SEN department are fully committed to ensuring that all our children with SEN are cared for and have equal opportunities to learn in the classroom.
Our chaplaincy office is often packed with students chatting and taking time out from their busy lives during break and lunch. We provide a place where students can be themselves and simply relax with their peers. We also provide one-to-one support for students who may be experiencing bereavement after the loss of a loved one or who may need to speak to a chaplain about their worries and challenges they are experiencing in life.
We work closely with the learning mentors and the safe-guarding team in the school to ensure that students know they are valued, cared for and safe. We are currently running the Rainbows programme for students who have suffered loss or bereavement due to a death or change in their family circumstances and this has been a great success.
Each year, our students exhibit the charism of mercy in their incredible work for charity. Over the years, our students raised tremendous sums of money for charities such as CAFOD, Zoe’s Place, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Macmillan Cancer Support. At Christmas, each form class raise money and provide food for hampers that are sent out to those most in need in our local areas. Every Lent, we raise money through the Good Shepherd Fund for the Liverpool charity Nugent Care.
Students, through our assemblies and collective worship, are taught that mercy, compassion and the love of neighbour are the true marks of being a student of Maricourt.