Merging of Small Congregations
Prompted by the expanding needs of new dioceses, the Third Australian Plenary Council of Bishops addressed the challenge of consolidating the preparation of teachers for Catholic schools. At this time, teacher training was mostly conducted in congregations' novitiates or colleges. The bishops recognised that, although such arrangements were effective enough, they were too disparate and did not have a strong future.
Also they saw the desirability of very small congregations merging in the interest of good formation and healthier communion of life among the sisters. Thus, over the next decade or so a large number of the 53 Mercy congregations united.i i i
Encouraged to Come Together
Further amalgamations took place in the early years of Pope Pius XII's pontificate (1939-1958). The main impetus for these was the Pope's encouragement to congregations of the same charism to come together, either in a union or a federation.
As conveyed in his document Sponsa Christi (1950), this related to his wish for the renewal of religious life so that it could respond more effectively to urgent human needs associated with the poverty and global dislocation caused by the Second World War. It also reflected deeper understanding of what was really required for the work of evangelisation in so called 'mission countries'
Mercy Congregations 1952
By 1952 there were 17 autonomous Mercy congregations in Australia.