The Sisters of Mercy: Some History
“… One of the most famous followers of this movement in Russia was the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, who in 1909 founded the Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy, which resembled a monastic house in its rule of life. A hospital, an outpatient clinic, a pharmacy, a home for orphaned girls, a Sunday school, a library, and a soup kitchen were all constructed in the convent. The Grand Duchess herself, along with her pupils, spent sleepless nights as a nurse at the beds of the seriously ill, assisted at operations, and visited Moscow slums. The sisters lived in the religious community itself, where they followed a monastic way of life without themselves being nuns. They gave temporary vows (for one, three, or six years, and only later for life) and had the option of leaving the convent to get married or of being tonsured directly to the small schema.
The noble work of the sisters of the Convent of Martha and Mary and the martyrdom of its superior served as the ideological impetus for the emergence of a multitude of such communities of mercy in the late 1980s and early 1990s throughout all of historical Russia.
The Sisterhood of Mercy dedicated to the Grand Duchess Elizabeth and the Nun Barbara opened in Kiev in 1998, founded by Fr. Roman Baranovsky, rector of the hospital church dedicated to St. Michael, first Metropolitan of Kiev. Now 145 sisters carry out their obediences at this church. …”
(Lots of wonderful pictures)