1831-1842: Mother Catherine McAuley leverages her multi-million dollar inheritance and creates a community of Catholic sisters in Dublin, Ireland, called "The Sisters of Mercy." The community flourishes and expands quickly across Ireland, including the town of Carlow.
1843: The Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, makes an eloquent plea to the Sisters in Carlow to come to the United States and establish Catholic schools in the United States. Six Sisters arrive in New York City on December 10, 1843. On December 21, in Pittsburgh, the Sisters of Mercy establish the first Convent of Mercy.
1846-1866: Five Sisters leave Pittsburgh for Chicago in 1846. After establishing a community in Chicago, the sisters go on to open Mercy Hospital, Chicago, during 1849-1850.
1867: The Chicago Community of Sisters decide to branch into Iowa and establish a community. Their destination: the little town of DeWitt.
1867-1868: The Sisters continue work on establishing a community and build an Academy for Girls.
1869: The Academy requires fundraising and Mother Borromeo heads to Davenport to solicit donations. While visiting Davenport she is given a tour of the Scott County Poor Farm and witnesses notorious conditions there. One of the vows of the Sisters of Mercy is to "care for the poor, sick and indigent." Between her experience as a Civil War nurse and her Administrator role at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Mother Borromeo knew Davenport deserved better health care. She immediately begins working with Scott County on plans for Mercy Hospital, Davenport.