A History of St. George’s Church Belfast and The Call of the North Bundle

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This book bundle includes the following publications:

A History of St. George's Church Belfast: Two Centuries of Faith, Worship and Music

The Call of the North: A History of the Sisters of Mercy, Down and Connor Diocese, Ireland

A History of St. George's Church Belfast: Two Centuries of Faith, Worship and Music

Situated in a location where Christians are known to have worshipped for many centuries, St George's Church has since its establishment in 1816 played a highly significant role in the spiritual and cultural development of Belfast, from market town to industrial giant to capital city. This book narrates the great challenges it has faced - and survived - over two centuries, including the very serious threats of physical destruction during the 1941 Belfast Blitz and, more recently, the 30 years of devastation brought on the city during the 'Troubles'.

The present day church's services are, as in the past, widely respected for their dignity of worship and fine music. Indeed, the musical tradition long associated with the church may be traced back to the appointment as its organist in 1817 of Edward Bunting, the original collector of Irish airs and music and whose own music, observed Martha McTier, sister of Dr William Drennan, founder of the United Irishmen, 'might make Pitt melt for the poor Irish'.

In telling the church's absorbing history, the author has been able to avail of a major parochial archive covering most of the last two hundred years. The range of illustrations in this beautifully designed volume includes fine modern photographs of the church building - interior and exterior - as well as some rarely seen engravings, paintings and early photographs. It is sure to be much appreciated by a wide readership, including not just parishioners but also those interested in church and architectural history and by the many who are intrigued by the story of Belfast.

This book serves as a fitting testimony to a building and an institution that continue to hold a special place in the heart of Belfast.

The Call of the North: A History of the Sisters of Mercy, Down and Connor Diocese, Ireland

The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Belfast from Dublin in 1854 at a time when, in the wake of the devastating Famine, the town'€™s industrial growth was beginning to present the range of social problems that would become all-too-common.

From the outset, the Sisters threw themselves into the educational and social work for which they would soon become renowned. They concerned themselves primarily with the care of females, particularly their education as a means of helping them escape from overpowering poverty.

Thousands of children and young people have looked back in later life with gratitude at the education they received in the '€˜Mercy Convent Schools'€™. The widely-renowned and highly regarded Mater Infirmorum Hospital, Belfast remains a flagship monument to the work of the Mercy Sisters in the field of nursing and medical care.

From their arrival, the Sisters became fully involved in the Works of Mercy in Down and Connor Diocese and, in later years, in the missions in Nigeria and Iceland. The apostolates of the Sisters were in education, in all its aspects, in nursing and in all forms of social work.

From the 1960s onwards, the impact of the Second Vatican Council was felt throughout the Catholic world and as a consequence renewal and developments took place in the Mercy Congregation. From the autonomous diocesan units that were characteristic of the original Mercy structures, the congregation has now become global in perspective. In 1994, the Down and Connor Mercy communities became members of the Mercy Ireland Union, now part of a wider international sisterhood which nobly and often heroically continues the Works of Mercy wherever their presence is needed.

The recent sesquicentenary in 2004 was a timely opportunity to recognise and pay due homage to the enormous significance of the social and counselling role of these '€˜walking nuns'€™ over the last 150 years.

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