Rural ministry has been fundamental to Josephite ministry from its very beginnings.
Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods were led by God to respond to the needs they encountered at the time of the founding of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart in nineteenth century Australia. They did this through Catholic education, the Sisters’ prime task, and by undertaking urgently needed works of charity for which there were no other Religious available. A real emphasis was placed on the education of ‘bush children’.
(SOSJ Constitutions 1).
Josephite commitment to rural ministry continues in a variety of ways across all of the countries in which we minister. Today there is much emphasis on providing support and encouragement for the people who are the lay leaders in parishes where there is no resident priest. Sisters participate in the life of their local town communities, giving assistance wherever it is needed. This can include making and selling burgers at a stall at the local show, visiting people in hospital, offering hospitality or taking Communion to the housebound.
Isolation, climate, mining and rural decline have an impact on the lives of rural people. Where Sisters of Saint Joseph live they are usually involved in assisting and supporting people in these circumstances, while some Sisters who live in rural towns have a special pastoral presence, gently affirming and witnessing to the values of companionship and hospitality.
Page last updated June 2016