Our Congregation, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, was founded in Penola, South Australia in 1866 by an Australian woman Mary Helen MacKillop and an English priest Julian Tenison Woods.

From the beginning Mary and Julian encouraged Sisters to share the lives and the concerns of people with whom we minister with a particular focus on education. We were founded with vision and courage precisely to undertake a new experiment… to live as religious had never lived before and to work under conditions that had not been experienced before. We are a congregation of women who have lived their life with feet on the ground, nurturing life.

Today, Sisters are engaged in pastoral work as well as in professional roles which include teaching, administration, social services, law, psychology, nursing, aged care, community development, adult education and support for new arrivals in Australia and New Zealand.

To learn more about the history, work and legacy of the Sisters of Saint Joseph you’re invited to view an interactive historical timeline here.

These videos provide more detail on the story of Mary MacKillop, Julian Tenison Woods and the Sisters of Saint Joseph.