Fr Julian: Man of Words – Letter Ten

This month we look at the plan for Catholic Education in South Australia that Father Julian Tenison Woods had the task of implementing when he became the first Director General of Catholic Education in Australia.

In 1867 Bishop Laurence Sheil appointed Father Julian Tenison Woods as his Secretary and asked him to leave Penola and move to Adelaide. Once he was there, together, they devised a comprehensive plan for Catholic Education and communicated this at a public meeting held at St Francis Xavier’s Hall on Friday, 26 April 1867. [i]

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Fr Julian: Man of Words – Letter Nine

130 years ago, on 7 October 1889 Father Julian Tenison Woods died at 561 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. He was only 56 years old. This month we provide opportunity to explore some of the articles that appeared in newspapers across Australia at that time.

WOODS – October 7, at his residence, 561 Elizabeth-street, the Very Rev Julian Tenison Woods, in the 57th year of his age and the 33rd of his ordination R I P[i]
A SOLEMN DIRGE and REQUIEM MASS for the REPOSE of the SOUL of the Late Very Rev J E TENISON-WOODS will be celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral, TO-DAY at 10am.  The funeral cortege will leave the Cathedral for the Waverley Cemetery at 2 pm. [ii] 

These are the simple death and funeral notices that appeared in Sydney newspapers following the death of Father Julian Tenison Woods. Subsequently, newspapers all over Australia noted his passing and extolled his virtues.

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Death of Fr Julian Tenison Woods

Anniversary of the Death of Fr Julian Tenison Woods on 7 October.

It is true God’s ways are not our ways, but if we look closer into it, we see that God is the Way, just as God is the Truth and the Life. [1]

We commemorate the 130th anniversary of the death of Julian Tenison Woods on 7 October. A multi-faceted human being with extraordinary gifts and talents in a variety of fields, his scientific exploration and writings demonstrate his profound appreciation of nature and challenge us to reverence creation. While he was well regarded in the scientific world, he was beset by many personal disappointments and misunderstandings within the church. He was not a saint, but through his suffering, he remained constant in his faith and committed to his priesthood.

We invited Tenison Woods College students in Mount Gambier, SA to produce a video to celebrate this wonderful man – please view at the end of this article.

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In Footsteps of Founders, Honouring Tim Fischer

Honouring our Founding and remembering Tim Fischer, Boree Creek, Riverina, NSW.

Boree Creek General Store

On Saturday 31 August, on a sudden impulse, we decided to drive from Leeton to nearby Boree Creek for morning tea. With the moving State tribute to Tim Fischer still fresh in our minds, it seemed like a good idea to honour him by going to experience the place he grew up in and loved.

We were thoughtful on the way. Golden canola stretching as far as the horizon. Young wheat too, firm and strong.

Julian would have loved this, besotted as he was with the beautiful, always aware of the Presence of the Creator in the created. A sense rises inside: “We are experiencing his type of amazement!”

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Fr Julian: Man of Words – Letter Eight

Despite all his other commitments, Father Julian Tenison Woods wanted people in the Catholic community to be aware of what was concerning and influencing the Catholic Church in the 1860s. This month we explore his role as editor of the first Catholic journal in South Australia.

In the 21st century there are multiple ways for Australian Catholics to find out what is affecting the Church throughout our country and world. This was not the case in South Australia in the latter part of the 19th century. Father Julian Tenison Woods was convinced that Catholics needed to be aware of happenings relevant to the Church in Europe as well as locally. Despite all his other commitments, he and local Vicar General, Father Patrick Russell produced a newspaper that provided much-needed communication in a way that seems to have been respected by both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

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Fr Julian: Man of Words – Letter Seven

Have you ever been into a large underground cave? This month Father Julian invites us to share his experience of exploring the caves of Mosquito Plains, near Naracoorte, South Australia in 1857.

Of all the natural curiosities a country can possess, none tend so much to render it famous as the existence of large caves. There is such an air of mystery in the idea of long subterraneous passages and gloomy passages shut out from light and life; so little is known of their origin, and they are generally accompanied with such beautiful embellishments of nature, that one is never tired of seeing them or of hearing the description of those that cannot be visited.Father Julian Tenison Woods

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A Communion of Companions

Mary and the men on the founding Monogram: A Communion of Companions

In May this year, Sr Marie Foale wrote on the founding Josephite Rule written by Fr Julian Tenison Woods in October 1867 (First steps towards the Foundation of the Order). This Rule, lived by Mother Mary and her early companions, was signed by Bishop Shiel and approved for use in his Diocese of Adelaide on 17 December, 1868.

The following segment from Chapter Three of the Rule not only instructs sisters on the distinctive monogram to be worn on their habit, but it also holds the key to a spirituality of ‘companionship’ that Julian was keen to promote with Mary amongst the early sisters.

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Mary and the men on the founding Monogram: A Communion of Companions (PDF)

Virginia Bourke rsj

Fr Julian: Man of Words – Letter Six

Father Julian Tenison Woods wrote many articles on scientific subjects.

This month I present an example of the detailed research and time that must have gone into his writing: Palaeontology of New Zealand Part 4, Corals and Bryozoa of the Neozoic period in New Zealand. [i]

This is not a paper that I expect too many people may read in its entirety. Indeed it may not be a subject of interest to too many. It is, however, a valuable insight into the scientific mind of Father Julian and, I hope, may lead the reader into finding other articles of more personal relevance. It certainly shows Father Julian’s ability to apply his observations to areas unfamiliar to his experience.

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