New South Wales Region Sesquicentenary logo and Sisters of Saint Joseph founders Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph celebrate 150 years of the Congregation’s presence in NSW since their arrival in Perthville on 16 July 1872.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, was founded by Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods in 1866 in Penola, South Australia. Its first ministry was the opening of a school for the children of that small distant town.

By 1867, there were 10 sisters and a school in Port Adelaide was opened. Gradually the number of sisters grew and more schools were opened for poor children in South Australia and Queensland.

Just six years after their founding in 1866 in Penola, South Australia, at the invitation of Bishop Matthew Quinn of the Bathurst Diocese, the first foundation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in New South Wales (NSW) was created.

Bishop Quinn decided that a small village was the place for them to begin. Sisters Teresa MacDonald, Joseph Dwyer and Hyacinth Quinlan, along with an enquirer, Ada Braham, arrived in Queen Charlotte Vale, now Perthville, on 16 July 1872.

In keeping with their founding spirit, as well as teaching in the schools, the sisters visited families and the sick and gave religious instruction to children and adults. From this small beginning the ministry of the Sisters grew and expanded into all 11 Dioceses in NSW.

Throughout the journey of these past 150 years, with all its twists and turns, ups and downs, the grace of God has continued to meet the needs of the times through the ministry of the sisters.

On Saturday, 16 July 2022, the Sesquicentenary Mass celebrating 150 years of the presence of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in NSW since their arrival in Perthville in 1872, will be held in the Cathedral of St Michael and St John in Bathurst, NSW at 10:30am AEST.

The Mass will be live streamed and can be viewed here or below. The Mass Booklet is shared below.

NSW Sesquicentenary Mass Booklet – 16 July 2022 (PDF)