Chapters 16th, 17th and 18th

In addition to [Father Woods’] duties as Secretary to the Bishop, Director General of Catholic Education (a regular system of which he was expected to organise) and Inspector of Schools, he had to take charge of Port Adelaide, eight miles from the city, until another priest could be had. Dr Sheil was to go to Europe immediately after Easter, and the whole of the education arrangements were left to the new Director General…[i]

Mary MacKillop, 1871

Dr Sheil left for Rome on 29 April and Father Woods worked on alone at his school plans. Nothing baffled him – troubles and difficulties he said were ‘a sign that God blesses our work, and please Him, we will prosper too.’…[ii]

He had drawn up School Regulations for the use of the diocese and was considering the advisability of bringing two of the four Sisters (who were teaching in the South East under his supervision) to Adelaide. Once established in the city, they (being already experienced teachers) could train others: so he determined to wait no longer…[iii]

Sister Mary and her companion arrived at Port Adelaide on Sunday 23 June. Father Woods met them and accompanied them to the city by the evening train.  They took up their residence in the cottage provided for them by Miss McMullen who remained with them as a postulant. The Cathedral school was opened on the Feast of the Visitation, 2 July, attended by sixty children…And now the work was fairly begun…[iv]

Father Julian Tenison Woods

At the Examination six months after, there were 200 pupils present…[v]

On the Feast of the Assumption (15 August), Sister Mary made her Profession and two postulants, one being Miss McMullen, received the Habit, the first ceremony of the kind that ever took place in Adelaide…[vi]

It might interest the reader to see the round of duties he attended to in the course of the year, as taken from the Southern Cross of 1867 and 1868. This paper came into existence a short time after Father Woods had taken up his residence in Adelaide… Father Woods contributed largely to it… his former connexion with the press being serviceable.

The first number appeared on 20 September, announcing itself as ‘[t]he only attempt ever made by the Catholics of South Australia to have a little journal of their own’…[vii]

This one year will suffice to show the devotedness with which the earnest worker carried out his design.[viii]

This extract is taken from:

Chapters 16th, 17th and 18th of Julian Tenison Woods: A Life has been used with the kind permission of the Trustees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph 1997 and the publishers, St Paul’s Publications.

If you would like to read the full text, including an informative Introduction, footnotes and an index, this book is available online and from some Mary MacKillop Centres.

Carmel Jones rsj


[i] Chapter 16th, p. 86
[ii] Chapter 16th, p. 86
[iii] Chapter 16th, p. 87
[iv] Chapter 16th, p. 92
[v] Chapter 16th, p. 92
[vi] Chapter 16th, p. 93
[vii] Chapter 17th, p. 94
Note: Chapters 17 and 18 refer to the events that made up a year in the life of Father Woods as compiled by Mary MacKillop from the Southern Cross journals of 1867 and 1868 – including opening new schools, attending Board meetings, giving lectures, celebrating Masses and Funerals, preaching sermons, establishing orphanages, refuges, temperance guilds and a Catholic Book Depot, writing textbooks for Geography and Grammar and arranging Examinations.  The number and variety of events and activities make very interesting reading.
[viii] Chapter 18th, p. 120