The Sisters’ daily prayer is grounded in the Scriptures, in the liturgical season and in the places and experience of where Sisters live and are engaged in ministry. Along with the Scriptures they have a number of resources for prayer, namely, the Prayer of the Church, Josephite Prayer book and the book of prayers, Act Love Walk: Praying in the Josephite Spirit – both written by the Sisters.

Sisters will usually have a corner, room or chapel in their homes which they make beautiful as a focus or preparation for prayer. But these are not the only places for prayer, for as Pope Francis reminded us, the world is our cathedral.

Prayer may combine several elements – word, image, reflection, sharing and music.

The liturgical and Josephite year is punctuated with feast days, celebrations and remembrances which are part of our Catholic, Josephite identity and tradition.

Traditional Devotions

The following are the range of devotions that have always been part of the Josephite way of life.


We believe the Eucharist is our highest act of worship and a priority in our lives. As for all Catholics, the Mass is central to how we understand ourselves and our role in the Church.

For some Sisters, the reality of living in isolated, rural areas dictates that they may find themselves living in parishes that do not have daily or even weekly Eucharist, as was the case in our early history. Sisters continue to co-operate with others to enable the community of believers to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word with Communion.

All Josephites seek to live in a Eucharistic way aware of the gift of God’s presence in our world and open to sharing life with all in need.


Sacred Heart

Both founders, Fr Julian Tenison Woods and Mother Mary MacKillop, prayed constantly to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We would say the Sacred Heart manifests to us the unconditional and compassionate love of God.

Feast of the Sacred Heart (PDF)


John the Baptist

As the cousin of Jesus and the one who prepared the way for His coming, John the Baptist is a patron of our congregation. Like him, the Sisters’ presence and activity points to the Presence of Jesus within us and in all other people.



Our congregation takes its name and ethos from Joseph, the husband of Mary, foster-father of Jesus, carpenter, patron of families and workers. Joseph, humble and just, took Mary as his wife when he could not have possibly understood her pregnancy. Joseph saved Mary from the harsh judgement and penalty of those times. His faith was real and practical.

Phrases from Mary MacKillop’s letter of 1893 speak about St Joseph:

His was a quiet humility.
It was a humility grounded in the Will of God.
A humility that trusted and depended on God completely.
It was a humility of heart not words.
It was a humility that didn’t hinder him putting himself forward. (courage)
It was a humility that obeyed the inspiration from God.
It was a humility that could withstand what others might say.

The feast of St Joseph on 19 March marks an annual day of celebration for Josephites.

Joseph the Disciple: A poem by Mary Jo Wells rsj

Download the prayer here (PDF)



Mary of Nazareth is the mother of God’s Son, Jesus, who was born like us in human form and was both God and man. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Mary models for us an abiding listening to God’s Word, a loving relationship with her Son and an embrace of all peoples and their needs. Prayers to Mary include the Rosary and the Magnificat and have always been part of our tradition.


The Cross

Suffering and failure featured often in the story of our founders and our history – like it does in most people’s ordinary lives. The Cross reminds us of Jesus’ journey to Calvary; his suffering and death. The point of it was to show that death is not the end. Death leads to life.

Mary MacKillop took as her name in religion, Mary of the Cross, and her life witnesses to a way in which love for God and love for people can come together in the positive acceptance of the sufferings that are part of life.

Mary was born and lived under the Southern Cross, the symbol that captures for our indigenous peoples and all who live here that our land is a land of hope.

The fourteen Stations of the Cross are a means of prayer and reflection particularly in Lent. Sister Helen Barnes rsj has prepared a modern reflection on the Cross and the stations in everyday life.

St Mary MacKillop Prayers

You will find here prayers in the spirit of Mary MacKillop:

God of the prophets you gifted Mary MacKillop with vision and courage.
In her we see one who was not afraid to speak fearlessly your gospel of love.
We pray for the sensitivity and imagination to read the signs of our times, and to articulate new possibilities for our own day. Like Mary, may we learn to confront all that is oppressive and unjust, and empower others towards true freedom and integrity. Spirit of wisdom, be with us as we face new horizons. Amen

God of all blessings, you revealed in Mary MacKillop a sensitivity to the rights and dignity of every person, regardless of race or creed. May we learn from her to overcome the obstacles of prejudice and fear. Help us to value the goodness of each person and all the blessings of unity in diversity.
We ask this through the depth and unity of you, our bountiful God, who hold all things in being. Amen

God of compassion, God of all people, we praise you for your servant, Mary MacKillop, who gave her life to serve you in the poor and oppressed.
As she is honoured in our world, may we continue to learn to share her vision.
Help us to recognise, as she did, that the poor of our time will hear the gospel in the way we serve them. Be with us as we strive to follow her and carry out our mission of service and care. Amen

God of the Dreaming, you show yourself to us in dreamers, seers, and prophets.
We thank you for all those who, like Mary MacKillop, have helped us to see the possibilities for our country and its people.
As we struggle to realise our dreams for a just, compassionate world, may we witness to our world the true meaning of fair play and care for the oppressed.
Help us to uphold the importance of spiritual realities.
We pray that we will cherish particularly, the gifts of the indigenous peoples of our lands, and those new to our shores.
Teach us that, in the richness and strength of our diversity, lie our possibilities for becoming one. Amen

God of all pilgrim people, you raise up women and men to meet the needs of every age. In Mary MacKillop, we celebrate a journey of deep love and sensitivity to your will. Like her, may we learn to grow in appreciation of the fullness of your love and the depth of your mystery.
Help us to transform the ordinariness of our lives as we reach out to others through the daily challenges of our journey towards you. Amen

Encountering St Mary MacKillop in Prayer online booklet

Spring Reflection

A reflection on Spring and our longings for renewed life and love. Music accompanies this reflection (09:13).

Creator: Ann Gilroy rsj

Second Sight – a PowerPoint by Ann Gilroy