Within days of their arrival in Callan, the Sisters saught and obtained permission to minister to those who were resident in the Workhouse. Nowhere were the Sisters more needed.
This workhouse, built in 1841, for the relief of the poor and needy in Callan and the surrounding area was, unlike many of the workhouses elsewhere, a well-run establishment, although there were some complaints of over-crowding. An entry in the Callan Workhouse files December 1872 reads:
"The Sisters of Mercy have come to Callan and are anxious to visit the sick of this house with the permission of the Board
Signed: Wm. Martin C.C. R.C. Chaplain, 4/12/1872"
The minutes of December 14th 1872 read:
"Permission given to the Sisters of Mercy to visit the inmates of the Workhouse"
This situation continued until January 1882 when the Board of Guardians of the Workhouse invited the Sisters to become nurses in the Workhouse Hospital. Following a good deal of negotiations the Sisters took up duty in the Poor House in January 1883 and accommodation was provided for them.
On April 24th 1883 the Sisters were requested to teach in the Workhouse schools. These Apostolates of the Sisters in the Workhouse continued until the Hospital and Schools were closed in 1922 when the military were drafted in.
History of Callan Workhouse