The Society of Our Lady of Mercy School

The Society of Our Lady of Mercy was founded in the City of Rio de Janeiro in 1919 by a group of English Speaking Catholics who wished to have a Chapel where they could be attended to by English Speaking Clergy. The Society flourished and in 1952 established the only English Speaking Catholic School in Rio de Janeiro. The school followed and still does the American Curriculum in Education and Religious Educations as an integral part.

The OLM Society, School and Parish are involved in various community service activities. Food drives are also an on going event to meet the needs of those less fortunate. All society members donate their time to the service of the objectives of the Society.

Board of Directors Officers of the Our Lady of Mercy Society

Chaplain: Monsignor André Sampaio de Oliveira


President: Mr. Carlos Augusto Derraik


Vice-President: Ms. Olga Camisão de Souza


Secretary: Ms. Dayse Haime Pastore

Board of Education 

Chaplain: Monsignor André Sampaio de Oliveira


President: Daniela Cunha 

Vice-President: Renata Ruffo R. Pereira Rezende 


Secretary: Raffaela Maria R. Sauerbronn

Who are we?

The community of the Society of Our Lady of Mercy is composed of a dynamic group of School Parents, Parish Members, and Catholic, English-speaking individuals who live in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and share common interests, concerns, and priorities, the most marked of which is the maintenance of Our Lady of Mercy School, currently celebrating 61 years of Excellence in Education.

Since January of 1919 the Society of Our Lady of Mercy initiates a process of careful selection by welcoming prospective new members who have been identified, indicated, or who have shown themselves to be the profile of a Society Member, either by association with the OLM School or Parish, or through personal or professional reputation in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Ever since English-speaking people began coming to Rio de Janeiro, their numbers have grown among many of the Catholic Faith. It was only natural that they would seek out one another in the common interest and purpose, which was to promote Catholic life and Activities. This had a deeper meaning. It meant the desire to hear the Word of God, Attend Special Devotions, Go to Confessions, Have Catechetical Instructions and Share other Church Activities all in their own language. For this reason, in January of 1919 a group of Catholic Laymen, together with the Brazilian Ecclesiastical approval, formed the British-American Church Society. This group shared activities originally with another confraternity and, eventually, the Society acquired the use of the “Capela de Nossa Senhora da Piedade”, in Botafogo – Rio de Janeiro - Brazil, where it spent a number of years and prospered.

The Society grew on strength of the indomitable spirit of the founding members and the cooperation of the Ecclesiastical leaders, who shared in this pioneering effort. In the course of time the Society adopted it’s present name – “Society of Our Lady of Mercy”.

One of the first objectives of the Society was to provide schooling for children of English-speaking Catholics or others who wished to have their children instructed in the Faith. Our Lady of Mercy School was founded in 1952. It has grown into a dynamic Educational Institution serving over 500 students from Pre-Nursery through High School. The School is fully accredited by the U.S. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers both a U.S. and a Brazilian Diploma, in addition to a complete program of Religious Education.

Today, the Society’s principal aims are the running of OLM School, providing the facilities for the running of the School as well as Financial Assistance to the Parish to promote Social and Religious Activities among Rio’s English-speaking Catholic Community.


  • To maintain, in the diocese in which the Association has a registered domicile, one or more all-day Schools that are in conformity with the doctrine of the Catholic Church to provide general education for the children of Catholic families or other families that respect Catholic upbringing, including all services necessary for the good functioning of the School, such as cafeteria, school bus and sports activities.

  • To promote, encourage and develop social and cultural activities aiming at propagating the Catholic faith among its members.

  • To give financial aid and collaborate with other organizations that work for the propagation of the Catholic faith, whose charitable activities are necessary to provide for the physical welfare of families, children and orphans of any creed.

  • To provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of all English-speaking Catholic seamen and other foreign Catholic travelers who are passing through this city and state.

  • To carry out social work in neighboring communities of the Association and School and in other needy communities, using members of the Association and parents of students in this mission of taking aid and Christian faith to those in need.

How do we work?

The association between the Society and the School begins first through the union of the individual members of the Society who come together annually to choose a Board of Directors, which represents them at regularly scheduled monthly meetings.

The Board's purpose of the meetings is to come together with the Head of School, Mr. Craig Woollard, along with the School Chaplain, Monsignor André Sampaio de Oliveira, to address matters pertinent to administration, implementation of policies and the mission of Our Lady of Mercy School, in addition to other community interests.

Society's Membership Benefits

1. This, in itself, implies no legal commitment to members, but permits Society Members to participate in the Voluntary Activities of the Society.

2. Participate in the OLM School Strategic Decisions.

3. If the applicant is an OLM Alumni he/she can return to OLM Society a small piece of what they gained while studying at OLM.

4. Be a good citizen and example to others.

5. Support the Catholic mission in the OLM Society, School and Community.

Society's Membership Application Process

1. Upon receiving the Membership Application Form the Society Administrator will present the Application to the Board for its Review and Evaluation.

2. Once the Membership Application is Reviewed and Evaluated, by the Board, the Society Chaplain will contact the applicant to schedule an interview.

3. After the Chaplain Interviews the applicant, he will recommend that the Board of Directors vote. The final decision to either accept or not the applicant, as a Society Member, is the Board of Directors.

4. Once voted and approved by the Board of Directors, the Society Administrator will inform the applicant of the Board’s decision.