October 08, 2012
It is no accident that the “slogan” accompanying the name of the Josephite Mission and History Centre in Tasmania uses the words “continuing the story.” The Centre was established in 2010 in the Tasmanian Josephites’ former Mother House, Sacred Heart Convent at New Town, to do precisely that.
The Centre's Co-ordinator, Sr Sue McGuinness, says that: ‘We want to ensure that the ministry begun by our co-founders continues into the future, through the work of teachers in our schools, our Associates, our co-workers in Mission, our Junior Joeys: in fact anyone who feels drawn to the spirit of Joseph, imbibes it, and lives by it. That is the reason for the word “Mission” in the name of the Centre.’
The Sisters also want to tell the story of the Sisters of St Joseph in Tasmania over the past 125 years as the foundation stone for all that will be built on in the future, albeit in many and varying ways. Hence, they also use the word “History” in the Centre’s title.
Sue explains that: ‘Our Mission Statement reflects these two aspects of our raison d’etre:
'Our Mission is
to preserve the Josephite story
making it accessible to people of all ages.
We seek to nurture Josephite spirituality
wherever it connects with the hearts of people
drawing them to a particular way of living the Gospel."
Since the opening of the Centre in March, 2010, many student groups have been on “tour” to the Centre. They are introduced to the Founding Sisters who came to Westbury In 1887, and they examine some aspects of the early community and school life of the Josephites in Tasmania. Students are intrigued by the “habit-ed” Sister who greets them in the corridor! They meet the gifted Father Julian and are fascinated by objects no longer part of their world: inkwells, pens with nibs, old desks, typewriters, even handwriting!
Adults who visit are keen to find their former teachers and mentors named on the memorial wall in the Chapel, or pictured in the many albums displayed in the History Room.
As an adjunct to the work of the Centre, the Tasmanian Sisters formed a Mission Team. Sue has said that: ‘This group prepares and facilitates a Colloquium which we have named Exploring the Heartland: Continuing the Josephite Story. The colloquium experience includes a Pilgrimage Day to the Midlands of Tasmania where Father Julian spent some time as parish priest.’ While participants in the colloquium have largely been drawn from former Josephite schools, other co-workers from MacKillop Hill, Forth, and the Emmanuel Centre in Launceston have also participated. It is from such experiences as these that teachers and school leaders have been inspired to encourage the formation of groups of Junior Joeys in their schools. This is the how the story Continues!
Mary Fermio rsj, Co-ordinator of the Josephite Associates in Victoria, recently attended a meeting of the Mission Team held at the Centre, during which it was resolved to formally establish Josephite Associates in Tasmania. Sue has reported that: ‘Different members of the Mission Team will use the resources in their area and nurture groups of people or individuals who may accept an invitation to become a Josephite Associate. Already a group in Launceston is underway, having had years of contact with, and formation from, the team at Emmanuel. They are to be commissioned as Associates later this year.’ It is hoped that some Southern Associates will, in time, identify closely with the work and spirit of the Mission and History Centre and volunteer their gifts and talents to make their contribution to “continuing the story.”
The 'Mission Room' and the Chapel at the Josephite History and Mission Centre are available for use by individuals or groups beyond the Josephite family. The Mission Room has been used for meetings, workshops and presentations by a variety of people. Arts Tasmania held their annual AGM at the Centre and our membership of Small Museums has also attracted some visits for meetings and workshops. The L’Arche Community in Tasmania makes use of the facilities for their Reflection Days. Use of the Centre by groups from the wider community helps to circulate the Josephite story and make it known more extensively.
Visitors are welcome at the Josephite Mission and History Centre! Location is 67 Clare Street, New Town Tasmania, 7008
Opening hours are: Monday to Friday, between 10.00 am. and 5.00 pm.
Staff can be available at other times by arrangement. Group bookings are welcomed!
The Centre’s contact details are as follows:
Sr Sue McGuinness rsj – Co-ordinator
P.O. Box 38, New Town, 7008
Phone: 03 6228 1628
This is a large gallery - 12 pictures - keep clicking on the right arrow until you meet Sue!