The Sisters of Saint Joseph marked the 150th anniversary of when the first Sisters of Saint Joseph arrived in Perthville to begin ministry in New South Wales on 16 July 2022.
The first community of sisters, Teresa MacDonald, Joseph Dwyer and Hyacinth Quinlan, and an enquirer, Ada Braham, arrived at Perthville near Bathurst at the invitation of Bishop Matthew Quinn on 16 July 1872.
Both St Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods (founders of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph) spent time with the sisters on this site.
The conclusion of the Second Assembly of the Plenary Council journey, was celebrated with Eucharist at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Saturday 9 July 2022.
The 270 members who participated in this week-long event, left with hope-filled hearts knowing that they have been part of a historic moment in the life of the Church in Australia. Others joined in this week through livestream or followed social media events such as Plenary Tracker and Plenary Matters. Most importantly were the thousands of people who supported the members through prayer.
On 16 July 2022, the Sisters of Saint Joseph celebrated 150 years of the Congregation’s presence in New South Wales since their arrival in Perthville in 1872.
What would it be like for Fr Julian Tenison Woods to speak to us in this year of sesquicentenary?
150 years on, this is what I imagine he might say:
As Pope Francis requested, we celebrate the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on 24 July to coincide with the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne on 26 July.
To honour this day, I would suggest that we light three candles. I happily share with you the three candles that would top my list.
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.
“After two years of disruption due to COVID, we look forward to welcoming pilgrims and supporters to Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney,” says Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
“Mary MacKillop Place is a site unlike any other because Mary lived, died and is buried here.”
The phone rang as I was locking up the house before going to Saturday night Mass. It was the bishop wanting to know if I would go to a country town, 400 kilometres away to train people in leading Liturgy of the Word with Communion.
The parish had recently lost their priest, with no replacement available in the diocese. I assured the bishop that I would go. This was a call something like Mary MacKillop had envisaged for the Sisters of Saint Joseph long ago.
Each month, Pope Francis asks for our prayers for a specific intention. For the month of July, the prayer intention is for the elderly.
The Story of Two Women
There is an Alaskan Legend about two old women who were left to die when their tribe came across hard times. The families, who loved their elders, were sad as they walked away, knowing that they would never see these venerable women again.