The Sisters Give Thanks for 150 Years


Our sesquicentenary celebrations in 2016 will honour the foundation of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.


  A Video Message from Sr Monica Cavanagh                         (Congregational Leader)



During the year special events will enable all who are part of the heritage of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods to renew their commitment to the vision of our Co-founders.

There will be celebrations during the year to give thanks to all our benefactors, family and friends of the Sisters of St Joseph who have journeyed with us since 1866:

  • to celebrate  our unsung heroes who walked before us and planted the seeds of the Gospel.
  • to rejoice with our partners in mission who are listening and responding to the heartbeat of the world today, through various groups responding to the challenges of today - reaching out and  sharing our resources with others.
  • to reflect on how we listen and respond to the heartbeat of the world today.
  • to be challenged to the truth that one person can make a difference.
  • to be optimistic and open to the new relationships beyond 2016 with those who will continue the legacy of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods.

The year will be filled with gatherings for Eucharists, prayerful and reflective moments, pilgrimages, celebrations, a Justice Conference, and special launches, to be held across Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Peru, Brazil and East Timor.

Please refer to the Calendar of events below in the links section for public celebrations in your area.

As we celebrate with gratitude, we remember Mary MacKillop’s words:“Let us be joyful and thank God.” (1874.)
Sr Brigette Sipa rsj
Sesquicentenary Coordinator


Sesquicentenary Sentiments


Media Coverage



Carmen and Angel Llanco, Covenant Josephites from Peru with Sr Katrina van Ruth currently ministering in Peru. Carmen and Angel are in Australia representing the Peruvian people for the occasion of our Sesquicentenary. Carmen and Angel presented the Sisters of St Joseph with the beautiful Peruvian sculpture of Mary MacKillop surrounded by the Peruvian people.

The inscription reads: CON MUCHO AMOR, ANUESTRA CONGREGACION, EN SUS 150 ANNIVERSARIO. ALIANZAS Y ASOCIADOS JOSEFINOS DEL PERU, MARZO 2016 (With much love on the 150 anniversary of our Congregation, the Josephite Covenants and Associates of Peru. Marzo 2016)


Sr Monica Cavanagh with Sr Judith Lawson the current President of CLRI NSW presenting the Sisters of St Joseph with a beautiful bunch of flowers on behalf of all the Religious Congregations at the recent Conference for Leaders to congratulate us on our Sesquicentenary. We brought them home and placed them on the tomb of Mary MacKillop.


Events, Celebrations and Opportunities


Two Memoirs from Penola...                                  



Read stories from the Sisters of their journey...


A Sesquicentenary Poem and Mandala by Tarina Brooke

Aflame with her good Gods love,
A woman called Mary began.
Passionate to bring equality
to every woman and man.

With Father Julian Tenison Woods
Guiding Mary on this path.
Together the journey began
To show that all people have worth.

Beginning a school in Penola.
A disused stable it was
Where this mission began to flourish,
And simple was its cause.

Education for all
Not just the rich.
A fourth "r" included
Knowledge of religious faith their wish.

From these humble beginnings
Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart began.
Now, not just in schools but in many ways
The mission continues on.

One hundred and fifty years have passed
Since the Congregation began.
Now many ministries and places
Josephite hearts are in.


Page Banner Timeline image:
Top Row (left to right): Saint Mary MacKillop, Sr Baptista Molloy, Sr Cyril Elkis, Sr Leone Ryan,
Sr Denis Earl, Sr Mary Cresp, Sr Katrina Brill, Sr Monica Cavanagh.
Bottom Row (left to right): Sr Bernard Walsh, Sr Laurence O’Brien, Sr Josephine Cahill,
Sr Adrian Ryan, Sr Elizabeth Murphy, Sr Giovanni Farquer, Sr Anne Derwin