The Penola community was delighted to receive news that our local historian, Margaret Muller, was selected by the Wattle Range Council as Penola’s Australia Day Citizen of the Year for 2020.
Margaret was presented with this prestigious award at our recent Australia Day Awards ceremony in Penola.
Margaret was acknowledged as Citizen of the Year in recognition of her outstanding voluntary service to the Penola community in a wide range of areas. Included among these areas of service are Margaret’s long years of commitment to the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre where her contribution continues to be both invaluable and highly valued. Since the establishment of the Centre, Margaret has been heavily involved in research, writing material for exhibitions and offering hospitality to literally hundreds of visitors in a variety of ways. For many years she has conducted town tours around Penola and her obvious passion for poetry and history adds a unique dimension for tourists and pilgrims alike. Among her finest achievements is her published record of the life of Father Paul Gardiner SJ, “A Long Journey.”
In her acceptance address, Margaret spoke of other outstanding citizens who made significant contributions to nineteenth century Penola. Among these were Alexander Cameron who established Penola as a private township, three eminent poets – Adam Lindsay Gordon, Will Ogilvie and John Shaw Neilson, and our co-founders, Julian Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop. To this impressive list Margaret added the twentieth century Penola-born polar explorer, John Riddoch Rymill whose Antarctic expedition remains a remarkable international achievement.
Margaret believes the key to the beauty and charm of Penola is its historical and cultural heritage which is so faithfully safeguarded by its residents. She acknowledged the high level of involvement of the town dwellers and members of the wider community which enriches the town in unique ways and makes it a special place.
It is Margaret’s own modelling of generosity, consistent involvement, energy, passion and selfless service that has been recognised by others and earned her this accolade. She is a most worthy recipient.
Congratulations, Margaret! Thank you for your outstanding contribution to the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre!
Sue McGuinness rsj
In June 1867 young Mary MacKillop and her companion, Rose Cunningham, made their very first Josephite foundation in the city of Adelaide with a view to providing a catholic education for children whose parents [were] in humble circumstances. 
In their bags they carried a manuscript copy of the Rules of the Institute of St. Joseph for the Catholic Education of Poor Children, which Father Woods had written a few weeks earlier.
In it he stressed the importance of their work as teachers but added that, wherever possible, they were also to take charge of Orphanages, to which [might] be added, where circumstances allow[ed], refuges for destitute persons. 
In fact, these new Sisters of Saint Joseph were,
Woods had moved to Adelaide some weeks before the Sisters arrived there and, in that time, had been appalled by the poverty and deprivation he had found in parts of the city. In particular, he had noticed that Catholics were well represented among the prison population. Therefore, in spite of the demands of his duties as Director of Catholic Education, he visited the Adelaide Gaol weekly and, whenever possible, celebrated Mass for the prisoners. 
It was with these people in mind that he mentioned the gaol or prisoners no less than four times in the Sisters’ Rules. Thus, in article five, he wrote that they were to be ready to go wherever they were sent and that, besides their teaching duties, they were to visit the sick or attend the poor, prisoners, or other afflicted persons.
In article seven on Sunday Observances, he stated that, after fulfilling their spiritual duties, they were to visit parents whose children had not attended school, sick children, prisoners, or those sick in the hospitals.
Then, in article twelve regarding vacations he wrote that:
From the time of their arrival in Adelaide, then, Woods had them visiting the Adelaide Gaol and the Adelaide Hospital every week. In fact, the visitation of these two institutions, both of which then housed some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the colony, became the first Josephite ministry not directly connected to their work of education.
One important spinoff from those initial prison visits was the foundation of St Joseph’s Refuge in Adelaide in October 1867 and, several months later, of St Joseph’s Providence, also in the city. The Refuge was intended to be a half-way house for women recently released from gaol while at the Providence the Sisters provided shelter and protection for disadvantaged women of all ages.
Mary MacKillop and her Sisters took prison visitation seriously and as far as possible, carried it on wherever they went. From Brisbane in 1870 Mary wrote of how she and her companions had visited a gaol on the previous Sunday and how, as a consequence, she felt the need of a Refuge for the women. However, the Vicar General refused her request to set one up. 
Mary did not give up, however, for some months later she wrote of:
Meanwhile, back in Adelaide the Refuge was progressing well while at the Providence Sister Elizabeth Etheridge was caring for a former prisoner who, because of failing health, had been moved there from the gaol before she had completed her sentence. 
Over time, Sisters began visiting prisons in New Zealand and Sydney, while Sister Gertrude Mary Dewe regretted being unable to get to the Gladstone Gaol (South Australia) from her convent in Georgetown, which was some fifteen kilometres away.
In August 1884, Sister Annette Henschke, who was then in charge of the Adelaide Refuge, wrote:
Over time, the Sisters’ regular prison visitation had at least one unexpected outcome. In early 1883, Adelaide Catholics were shocked to learn that thieves had stolen a gold ciborium full of sacred hosts from the Dominican Convent, in the city. The thieves emptied it somewhere in the Adelaide Parklands and made off with the ciborium itself. Everyone despaired of finding those sacred hosts, but:
Then, in 1897, the South Australian Sisters accepted responsibility for the management of a reformatory home for young girl prisoners, that is, for teenage girls who had appeared before the courts. Mary MacKillop, who was visiting South Australia at the time, spent several weeks with the Sisters as they made ready for the arrival of their first inmates.
This institution closed twelve years later, and the girls transferred to a state-run reformatory at Redruth near Burra in the state’s mid-north. In the early 1920s they moved to a Salvation Army run institution near Adelaide. Sister Annette Henschke, who had cared for prisoners and former prisoners for most of her life, maintained an interest in these young women after their move to Redruth and put continual pressure on Catholic Church authorities to provide a church-run home for them. Eventually, her pleas were heeded and in 1930, the Church opened a Catholic Reformatory near the city and invited the Josephites to resume their care of young girl prisoners. They continued in this difficult work until the arrival of the Good Shepherd Sisters in 1942.
Both Josephite and Government papers indicate the sisters did well in this work of prison visitation and care for reformatory schools.  In her “History of the Institute” Sister Mechtilde Woods claims that the good done in the prisons was amazing. She cites the cases of two young girls who, as she put it, had given up their evil ways and become models of virtue, loved by all. 
Then there was Hugh Fagan, a murderer who was condemned to death. Seemingly, this man was hard to manage, and prison directors begged the Sisters to visit him. Consequently, Mary MacKillop appointed Sisters Monica Phillips and Felicitas Garvey to see him every day. They persevered patiently and gradually he softened and reached the point where he asked to go to confession and receive Holy Communion. They continued their visits until the day before his execution on 15 April 1878 but were refused permission to attend that event. Instead, one of the local priests stood with him to the end. 
Over the years, a succession of sisters has carried on this ministry. In South Australia Sister Ethelreda Clark, who died in May 1962 aged 81 years, became a highly respected prison visitor. Like her Josephite predecessors, she spent many hours with men condemned to death and their families. Several of her protégés had their sentences reduced for good behaviour and, thanks to her influence, they did well in later life.
Today, Sisters in different parts of the Congregation still carry on this good work in the spirit of their founders, Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods.
Marie Foale rsj
 Fr JET Woods, Rules of the Institute of St. Joseph for the Catholic Education of Poor Children, Southern Cross Office, Adelaide, 1868, Article One.
 As above.
 Woods, Rules, Article Thirteen.
 Sr Mechtilde Woods, “History of the Institute”, unpublished ms, p. 25. RSJ Archives, North Sydney, 006/010
 Mary MacKillop (henceforth MM) to Woods, 8 February 1870.
 MM to Woods, 18 September 1870.
 Sr Elizabeth Etheridge to MM, 5 December 1870.
 Sr Josephine Carolan to MM from Sydney, 7 April 1880; Sr Teresa Maginess to MM, from Newton, Auckland, New Zealand, 6 May 1884 & 27 July 1884; Sr M. Ignatius Griffin to Josephine Carolan from Newton, 11 May 1884; Sr Gertrude Mary Dewe to MM from Georgetown SA, 5 November 1882.
 Sr Annette Henschke to MM from the Refuge, Norwood, 27 August 1884.
 Catholic Monthly, April 1883, p. 41.
 MM to Gertrude Mary Dewe from the Reformatory, St John’s via Kapunda, 17 May 1897.
 State Children’s Council, Annual Reports, 1899-1909. SLSA.
 Sr Mechtilde Woods, “History”, p. 25.
 Legend has it that Mary MacKillop was the one who visited and prayed with Mr Fagan. However, while she may have made the initial contact, her being with him at the end was impossible for, after doing a prolonged visitation of country convents n 1877, she was at home in Adelaide only from late November 1877 until she left for Port Augusts on 8 March 1878 to be with the dying Laurentia Honner. She stayed on for a week after Laurentia’s funeral on 12 March 1878 ( Sr Stanislaus Punyer, in Memories of Mary by those who knew her, Sisters of Saint Joseph 1925—1926, John Garratt Publishing, 2010, p. 21.) After that, she scarcely had time to get back to Adelaide to catch the boat for Brisbane on 23 March. (Barry Evans, “Index of Mary MacKillop’s Journeys,” unpublished ms. Josephite Archives, North Sydney.)
The prison gate clanged behind me for the last time.
Usually, people coming through this gate for the last time are over the moon with happiness. Not I. Today I am sombre? Nostalgic? After six years of teaching literacy at Whanganui Men’s Prison, I have said goodbye. Plenty of pressure from the programmes department to continue but this is it. At 90, it is time to move on.
Since 2013, this is where I’ve been every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at the Visits Department in a small room furnished with a table and two chairs. One side of the room, a large window facing a corridor where officers pass frequently for a quick check that all is well within. Over the six years I’ve met with twenty-four clients here, men who have accepted the chance of one-to-one help from a volunteer, through the prison programmes department.
It is amazing the number of young men (and not so young) who can’t read, struggle with reading, can’t spell and can’t write – but in the prison, away from the public eye and away from family watching their struggles, they welcome one-to-one help and come on in leaps and bounds.
The man across the table was never a prisoner to me but someone seeking literacy help. Sounds, sentences and syllables were the order of the day. Double sounds, triple blends, vowels, consonants, flowed freely. Capitals and full-stops… most important. Punctuation perfect. So many laughs. Profuse apologies if a swear word slipped out – and slip out they did. They were so in earnest. Wanted to improve. Wanted to read.
They enjoyed this time out from the overcrowded wing. Came in with a cheery “good morning” wanting to know what I’d been up to over the past week – garden, any new planting? How was the river looking? Had I walked around the lake? Were the turtles out on the log at the lake? The birds in the aviary? Shrapnel (cat)? When Shrapnel died they seemed to take it as a personal loss. Eric said, “I can’t read today. I’m so upset.”
All conversation was general and one-sided. I knew nothing of their crime or length of sentence and, of course, was not permitted to tell them personal matters especially any addresses or where I lived in Whanganui. But a chat now and then again about the turtles at the lake or a new geranium cutting for the garden went a long way towards creating a good atmosphere and taking a break from the work ethic. Sometimes it evoked a past memory – “My daughter once had a cat” … or … “I lived near a river” … or … “My partner likes gardening.”
I liked these men. They were all so different, yet respectful, grateful – and they enjoyed a laugh. They endeared themselves to me and I may have endeared myself to them, too.
Go well Richard, Keanu, Elisha, Eric and all twenty-four of you. I remember you all. The main thing is to keep reading, read every day, read at the library, read in your homes, read within the prison walls (those of you still there) … and all remember to stop at the full-stops! There is no hurry!
My hope is that I’ve lit a few fires out at Whanganui Men’s Prison and set a few sparks flying around, too, as I recall these words of Victor Hugo…
And every syllable spelled out is a spark.
It was my privilege to enjoy the love and friendship of Mother Mary of the Cross.
From the first day I met her as Superioress of Mount Street Convent [North Sydney], where I put in my Novitiate, until the day of her death, a period of about twenty years, during which I had many opportunities of knowing her worth.
Mother Mary was a noble woman, blessed with rare vision and holiness. Where the glory to God and duty to others were concerned she was full of moral courage, fearing no human opinion, always acting according to the dictates of conscience.
My first experience of Mother Mary’s charity was one day when going with her as companion to the city. We were waiting at the corner of the street near Mount St Post Office for a tram. A young woman came staggering along and at last reached and rested by the stone on the side of the footpath. Being young and inexperienced I naturally thought the woman was intoxicated but Mother’s quick eye detected something more serious. She said to me ‘Come along dear and see what is wrong with this poor woman.’ On getting up to her we found the woman was very ill. Mother asked if she could do anything for her. The woman said if he could get to the chemist’s nearby as she knew what would relieve her. The three of us then went to the chemist’s where the patient was attended to and we waited until she felt better. This act of Charity on Mother’s part made a lasting impression on the rest of my life.” 
Over the past months we have experienced global turmoil and disasters. In Australia the plight of the nation and the planet have raised out awareness to the absolute need of being connected. We have witnessed amazing heroism, generosity and deep sharing in unbelievably big and small ways.
Mary MacKillop was a person who spent her life reaching out, giving and connecting. God’s presence was a dominant feature of her life. The witness we have experience in a nation’s response is Mary’s call to us in every-day life. God is with us in it all, good or challenging.
- Let us ask ourselves whether Mary MacKillop’s inspirational response of reaching out, giving and connecting can become a natural call to all of us?
- What aspects of Sr Helena’s story enabled you to experience the generous spirit of Mary MacKillop?
- What gift can you express more fully?
Let us light a candle which reminds us that Christ is the light of the world.
Take time to reflect and recount the blessings of the past days.
Pray in gratitude.
Michele Shipperley rsj
 Sister M Helena McCarthy, Tokaanu, NZ. 1 December 1925 p. 71. Excerpts taken from Memories of Mary by those who knew her, Sisters of St Joseph 1925-1926.
Human Trafficking is the face of Modern Day Slavery today.
On January 2015, Pope Francis, on the World Day of Peace called us to take action against trafficked women, children and men all over the world so that they are:
Pope Francis has chosen 8 February, the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita who is the patron saint of Sudan and victims of slavery, to be a day of prayer, reflection and action. Born in Sudan, Josephine knew the sorrow of losing her freedom and family. She was kidnapped at the age of seven and was sold many times, before being freed and becoming a Canossian sister.
Today, the United Nations estimates that one in every three victims of trafficking is a child. Slavery has existed for thousands of years but economic and social forces have seen an alarming resurgence in the past few decades. Modern slaves are cheap and disposable, purchased and thrown away
Slavery flows into our homes, offices and schools through the many products we purchase. As members of the Global Community we are consumers, unwittingly contributing to slavery. Have you ever stopped to consider that what you are wearing is at the cost of someone else’s misery? We can stop this terrible offence of human dignity by buying Fairtrade and UTZ Certified and Rainforest chocolates. We can also make a difference by purchasing Australian caught and responsibly sourced seafood such as MSC and WWF labelled seafood.
Sr Margaret Ng rsj
You’re invited to read about Sr Margaret’s ministry below:
Provided below is prayer you can use for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (8 February):
Recently, a very gentle, beautifully conducted ceremony took place at North Sydney.
It was held in honour of the ninety plus year old sisters who had come together to celebrate the platinum (70 years), tourmaline (75 years) or tanzanite (80 years) jubilees of the religious profession they had made so long ago.
While just over one fifth of those of us professed on those memorable days in the 1940s and in 1950 are still with us, all remembered with great fondness the Sisters from their particular profession groups who are now with God—45 from 1940, 35 from 1945, and 26 from 1950. It was a special time of remembering with gratitude and sharing the highlights and the lowlights of the past seventy plus years. We were also conscious of those members of our respective groups who were unable to be present with us. In fact, those of us who were there scarcely drew breath during our time together. It was so good to see each other again!
We are so grateful to Sister Monica Cavanagh and Sisters Catherine, Marion, Louise and Maryellen of the Congregational Leadership Team for arranging our coming together and especially for how they organised our big day. All was done so quietly and graciously—the welcome, the morning tea, the Mass and finally, the delicious lunch and, of course, the cutting of a cake and a photo together.
God has been good! We have so much for which to be thankful as we now look forward to the time when we will all be together again with God in the company of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods and the amazing sisters who have gone before us.
Marie Foale rsj
The Rev. J.E.T. Woods was born in West Square, Southwark, London, on 15 November, 1832. He was the sixth son and seventh child of Mr James Dominick Woods, Q.C. and F.S.A. of the Middle Temple (and of Sydenham Kent), Barrister at law – and Henrietta Marie St Eloy Tenison, fourth daughter of the Rev. Joseph Tenison, Rector of Donoughmore Glebe, in the county of Wicklow, Ireland, and deputy governor and justice of the peace in the same county. The Rev. Joseph Tenison was son of the Bishop of Ossory, and grand nephew of Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Mr Woods was married to Miss Tenison at the Church of St George in the East, on 16 August 1819. Mr Woods’ father was a ship owner and wine merchant in the city of Cork, Ireland.
When Julian Woods was born, his father (who occupied a leading position on the literary staff of the Times newspaper) was absent from England..and did not see his infant son for nearly four months. Soon after the father’s return, the baby was baptised by the Rev. John White. The infant received the names of Julian Edmund Tenison. He certainly inherited his mother’s kindness; and seems to have had a special love for priests..
At the age of four, Julian was sent to a lady’s school with his only sister, four years his senior – proud to take care of her little brother. He remained at this school (which was conducted by a Catholic lady – Miss Rose) two or three years; and after leaving it was taught at home for some considerable time. He was then sent to an ordinary day school, not far from his father’s residence, where he remained until about ten years of age.
Like many other distinguished men and noted characters, Julian E. Woods in his infancy and early boyhood was in no way remarkable. But what he learned, he learned well, and never forgot..As a child he was loving, generous, and considerate in the extreme. He was very sensitive, but of a trusting and affectionate nature. He was endowed with a sweet temper, and a most forgiving disposition..
About the age of ten, he was placed in the preparatory school at Kent House, Hammersmith, then carried on by Mr Thomas Hunt, where some of his brothers had been and others were being educated. This school was intended for Catholics only…
Julian remained about four years in Kent House School; then he was removed in consequence of ill health.
After remaining at home awhile, Julian was sent to Newington Grammar School in Surrey, where he remained about two years..
About this time his mother’s health gave cause for great anxiety, and in the hope that a change might be beneficial to her, Mr Woods removed with her and the junior members of the family to the island of Jersey. They remained there eighteen months; but nothing could restore the health of the good lady, who passed away peacefully on 5 November 1847.
This extract is taken from:
Chapter 1st of Julian Tenison Woods: A Life and 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.
For locations and contact details visit the Josephite Books webpage.
Carmel Jones rsj
To know something about how New Zealand celebrates Waitangi Day, one needs to look back in history to learn how the Treaty has come to significance.
The Treaty of Waitangi  first signed on 6 February 1840 is an agreement between Maori, the first people of Aotearoa New Zealand and the British Crown. The Treaty was later taken to different parts of the country to be signed by leaders of Iwi (tribes) who were not at the original signing. At the time of the signing Maori vastly outnumbered Pakeha, forty to one.
The Treaty was written in both Te Reo (the Maori Language) and in English. The two versions were not exactly the same. In cases like this, the United Nations authorities would point out that the treaty of the indigenous peoples would be the correct version to follow. In the Te Reo version, Maori did not give up sovereignty (or their authority) over their lands, forests and fisheries.
Maori were very upset with the amount of land that had been taken from their ownership. Strategies of war and the law dispossessed Maori of much of their land. If Maori chose not to sell their land to the Crown they were called ‘rebellious natives’ and there would be a war declared and the land seized. The British understood land ownership as individual ownership or title. Maori used tribal ownership (many owners). Maori were required to register their lands with the Land Courts which was a long and expensive process.
In the 1970s Dame Whina Cooper from Panguru, led the historic land march from Hokianga to Parliament in Wellington, to raise awareness of the loss of Maori land. The Waitangi Tribunal was established later to hear claims of alleged breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown. Those whose claims have been resolved have received an apology for wrongs of the past and given compensation in the form of land, fisheries, forests or finance, to contribute to an economic base for their iwi.
The Labour Prime Minister Norm Kirk changed the name Waitangi Day to New Zealand Day in 1974, the name was changed back to Waitangi Day by the following National Government to emphasize the importance of the Treaty between Maori and the Crown. Although there are still settlements to be made, Maori and Pakeha are working through current issues to find just and lasting solutions.
Waitangi Day’s key celebrations are held at Waitangi where the Treaty was first signed. Waitangi Day begins with karakia (prayer), vigorous debate on the lower marae and protests, pomp and pageantry all happening on the main Waitangi grounds. Waka (canoes) and navy ships sail in the harbour nearby. There are different celebrations in various parts of the country with kapa haka (performing arts) sport and the sharing of food.
Waitangi Day is a reminder to New Zealanders both Maori and non-Maori, that although we are on the way, there is still much to be done towards honouring the Treaty of Waitangi. The intent of the Treaty lives on.
Liz Hickey rsj
 For more information on the Treaty of Waitangi, visit www.nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/treaty/the-treaty-in-brief
 Historic: Maori Land March. Dame Whina Cooper and her granddaughter Irenee Cooper, 3, setting off on a dusty far North road, at the start of the historic land march, 14 September 1975. The march swelled to 5000 people and covered more than 1100kms. New Zealand Herald. Photograph by Michael Tubberty. Used with permission.
 Photo of Busby’s House at Waitangi, New Zealand by E C Hickey. Used with permission.