Catherine Scherer was born on 31 October 1825 as the fourth child among seven to Charles Scherer and his wife Anna Maria Sigrist. Because of her lively nature she was called the Sunny Child of Meggen located at the lake side of Lucerne, Switzerland. Though she came from a simple farmer's family she was blessed by God for her future mission through thick and thin of her family problems. In 1833 when her father died the family had to face the stark realities of life. The children were dispersed in different families due to financial problems. Catherine was brought up with her cousins the Sigrists family and she was well taken care by an elderly woman. The religious atmosphere at home, and the seven years schooling, the regularity of life on the farm helped to mould Catherine's character. At the age of 16 with the help of the parish priest, her mother had arranged for a job in the town hospital in Lucerne, run by the Sisters of Mercy of Besancon. She worked there for a couple of years. It was a time of deep reflection so as to choose her way of life. Should she marry or become a teacher or enter a convent were the different questions to which she was in search of a perfect answer. In 1844 she met Fr. Theodosius at Altodorf Capuchin Friary and shook hands to join him in implementing his vision in serving the poor.
At the age of 19 she confirmed the call of God to serve the poor and needy and joined the congregation of the Teaching Sisters of Holy Cross founded by Fr. Theodosius, OFM Cap. Being one of the first 5 members on 27th October 1845 she took her first vows as Sr. M Teresa. She began her apostolate as a teacher. As a born teacher she began to love her profession. But God had his ways to unfold a new mission to her in future.
In 1852 Fr. Theodosius called her to Chur to take charge of a hospital and to start the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy which would undertake the works of Mercy. This was to establish another congregation that would venture into the healing ministry. Accepting the challenge with a 'Hand-shake' the congregation was established in 1856. In 1857 she was elected in unison as Mother General at Igenbohl. She walked with courage and trust in God with the founder even in moments of rough weather. The sudden death of the founder left her with heavy burden of establishing the congregation with no source of financial security. But she accepted the cross as the source of her strength and consolation and led the congregation with great trust and confidence.
Being the first Superior General she directed the growing congregation with prudence and patience. She sent her sisters wherever the need arose, to the poor the orphans the aged or to nurse the sick and suffering in the hospitals. Her motherly heart went out in tender love and compassion to serve the needy.
It is rightly so that she was titled as the 'Mother of the Poor'.
In her own words: 'We visit battle fields to nurse the wounded soldier. We enclose the sick in our arms; we regard the poor and rejected as our special loves to quiet their hunger and sooth their pain. In short: we hurry to anywhere where human needs call us to be.'