Some of our Sisters of Charity of Australia
At the Congregational Gathering, some 66 of the Sisters of Charity of Australia came together in Sydney for four days of discernment. The Gathering provided a perfect opportunity for photographer Tim Bauer to photograph the Sisters who wanted to be. This is the result.
From left: Sr Rose Holman, Sr Patricia Walker, Sr Maureen Walters
From left: Sr Libbey Byrne, Sr Pauline Staunton, Sr Maureen Heffernan
Sr Maryanne Confoy, Sr Cate O’Brien, Sr Anne Turner
Sr Margaret Valentine, Sr Margaret Scully, Sr Maria Wheeler
Sr Margaret Sapsford, Sr Margaret Fitzgerald, Sr Leone Wittmack
Sr Deirdre Hickey, Sr Annette Cunliffe, Sr Kathleen Doohan
Sr Judith Christy, Sr Karan Varker, Sr Joan Stapleton
Sr Jennifer Fahey, Sr Jeannie Johnston, Sr Jean Montgomery
Sr Jan O’Grady, Sr Helen Clark, Sr Genevieve Walsh
Sr Elizabeth Costigan, Sr Dorothy Bayliss, Sr Colleen Noonan
Sr Helga Neidhart, Sr Colleen McDonald, Sr Colleen Jackson
Sr Elizabeth Dodds, Sr Denise Hannebery, Sr Claudette Palmer
Sr Clare Nolan, Sr Christine Henry, Sr Anthea Groves
Left to right: Sr Mary Gabrielle Clarke, Sr Anna Parlevliet; Sr Jeannie Johnston, Sr Dorothy Bayliss, Sr Christine Henry; Sr Genny Walsh, Sr Margaret Fitzgerald
Sr Anna Parlevliet, Sr Anne Mayberry, Sr Regina Millard
Sr Adele Cottrell-Dormer, Sr Margaret Guy, Sr Pam Grime
From left: Srs Colleen Noonan, Angela Burke, Virginia Wilkinson, Jan O’Grady, Rose Holman, Annette Cunliffe; From left back row: Srs Margaret Sapsford, Colleen McDonald, Loretta Bani, Cate O’Brien, Joan Stapleton; front row Srs Helga Neidhart, Marueen Delaney, Elizabeth Costigan; Srs Christine Henry, Tess Marcelito
Sr Virginia Wilkinson, Sr Anne Taylor, Sr Edith King
Sr Loretta Bani, Sr Suzette Clark, Sr Teresita Marcelo
Launch of Ministry of Love
The new book about the Sisters of Charity of Australia was launched on August 15 – the Patronal Feast Day of the Congregation – at St Vincent’s College, Potts Point, where the first five Sisters initially set up St Vincent’s Hospital, 180 years ago, and then St Vincent’s school, 160 years ago. You will find Sr Clare’s speech launching the book here. And you will find Principal Anne Fry’s speech at the book launch here.
First row: Members of the book committee – Srs Suzette Clark, Genevieve Walsh, and Moira O’Sullivan, with the author Danielle Achikian; Sisters at the launch; the handsome new book, Ministry of Love;
Second row: Danielle Achikian; the Councillors, Srs Suzette, Cate O’Brien, and Margaret Beirne; Congregational Leader Sr Clare Nolan with the school principal, Mrs Anne Fry;
Third row: Anne Fry; Sr Anne Taylor; Sr Clare; Congregational historian, Sr Moira O’Sullivan; a peek inside Ministry of Love; Danielle outnumbered by her flowers;
Fourth row: Sr Deirdre Hickey, Sr Margaret Fitzgerald; Sr Jan O’Grady
Shooting the Congregation
When renowned photographer Tim Bauer was commissioned to record the Sisters of Charity of Australia at the Congregational Gathering, he was enthusiastic about the task.
It turned out, he was an inspired choice, because the combination of Tim’s easy charm and energy helped even the most reticent and retiring Sisters to overcome their usual inclination to be camera-shy.
This series of shots with Sr Edith King shows how she went from a little tentative to smiles in just a few frames.
St Ambrose Catholic Primary School, Concord West, annual Founders’ Day
On Tuesday, July 31, St Ambrose Catholic Primary School, Concord West, celebrated its annual Founders’ Day with a Mass celebrated by Fr Brian Egan, the parish priest.
The local Sisters of Charity were invited by the Principal Ms McFadden; those able to attend were Srs Judith Clark, Helen Clarke, Maria Wheeler, Margaret Fitzgerald and Genny Walsh as the homilist. Sr Genny (image 1) unfolded the story of Mary Aikenhead in Ireland, how she founded schools where there were none for the children and how our early Sisters founded schools in the same way here.
The motto, ‘The Love of Christ impels us,’ written on their Mary Aikenhead Centre Wall was demonstrated in actions during the homily.
After morning tea, Sisters Margaret (in the old habit) and Genny visited the classrooms (images 2 and 3).
The Principal, staff and children were delighted with our visit. It was an amazing experience not only for the children but for Sr Margaret, who lived in the Convent (image 4 ) and taught in the school more than 40 years ago.
During this year, the children have been introduced to and taught the Ignatian Examen as a way of life. As part of the celebration the children were to receive their own Examen beads.
Sr Anthea Groves celebrates her 80th birthday – June 30, 2018
Sr Anthea Groves at her birthday lunch in Sydney’s Paddington; the birthday tiramisu ready for its close up; Srs Clare Nolan and Deirdre Hickey; Sr Jacinta Fong joined in the Celebrations; Pauline Deweerd, Director Aboriginal Health at St Vincent’s Hospital, and Sr Anthea sat down together; Sr Margaret Fitzgerald
The Gathering begins – June 24, 2018
The Sisters of Charity of Australia gathered at St Joseph’s Retreat Centre in Sydney’s Baulkham Hills for their Gathering late June. The mood matched the weather — upbeat and sunny — as the Sisters went into session for four days.
Image 2: Sisters Colleen Jackson, Anne Mayberry, Elizabeth Dowling rsm, and Linda Ferrington; Image 6: Srs Anne Mayberry, Colleen Jackson, Congregational Leader Clare Nolan, and Deirdre Hickey
Ritual of Transition, Congregational Offices, Bondi Junction, March 23, 2018
Friday, March 23 marked the day Regina Millard completed her role of Director of Sisters in Temporary Profession. A ritual was held with all involved in the changeover gathering at the Congregational Offices to pray together and ask God’s blessing on Sr Libbey Byrne as the new Director of Sisters in Temporary Profession and the new Community which has accepted Sr Amanda Nguyen.
Three candles were lit as we called to mind God’s faithful presence, God’s light as our path, and new beginnings.
Regina handed the Formation documents to Congregational Leader, Sr Clare Nolan, as symbol of ending and welcomed Amanda to continue the journey with Sr Libbey.
Sr Clare called Sr Libbey forward and entrusted to her the Formation documents. This was symbolic of carrying forward what had already begun.
Sr Clare then acknowledged Sr Amanda and her new community and together they made a commitment to walk the journey, with hands open to receive, hearts open to give, and minds longing to learn from each other.
Each person then received a red ribbon bookmark symbolic of the colour of love and hearts on fire.
Then together we prayed a prayer of sending forth followed by a song called Go Now in Peace. This was followed by a sign of peace which took us to morning tea. Let the new journey begin!
Image 1: Sr Libbey; Image 2: Sr Amanda and Sr Regina, a hug of gratitude; Image 4: Members of Sr Amanda’s new Sydney community – Sr Margaret Valentine, Sr Jean Montgomery, Sr Gaye Reynolds; Image 5: Sr Cate O’Brien illuminates the candle for the ritual
Three Sisters receive Papal Honours on March 9, 2018
Three Sisters of Charity of Australia are now three Papal honourees! In March, 2018, Srs Sesarina Bau rsc, Jacinta Fong rsc, and Anthea Groves rsc were each awarded the decoration of honour, the Holy Cross pro Ecclesia e Pontifice.
(The medal was established by Leo XIII on July 17, 1888, to commemorate his golden priestly jubilee and was originally bestowed on those men and women who had aided and promoted the jubilee, and by other means assisted in making the jubilee and the Vatican Exposition successful.
It is currently conferred for distinguished service to the church by lay people and clergy. It is the highest medal that can be awarded to the laity by the Pope.)
Image 1: Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher op, Srs Jacinta Sesarina, Anthea; Image 2: Sr Jacinta and members of her family; Image 3: Dr Elsie Heiss, with Congregational Leader Sr Clare Nolan; Image 4: Sr Anthea and members of her family.
Sr Josephine Cannell celebrates her 100th birthday in February, 2018
Saturday, February 24, saw the first of several celebrations for Josephine on the magnificent occasion of her 100th birthday. Many Sisters, friends and colleagues of Sr Josephine gathered at 2pm in the Brenan Hall of St Vincent’s Hospital Fitzroy for the Eucharistic celebration and afternoon tea.
Our main celebrant was Fr Zaher Mhanna, chaplain for the public and private hospitals. He was assisted by Fr Mal Crawford and Fr Peter Carrucan. Together they made a gracious team whose constant inclusiveness of Josephine was very moving. Fr Zaher came to Australia three years ago as a Syrian refugee.
He told us that he has no family here and is very grateful to the Sisters of Charity because he now has many sisters and mothers. Fr Peter gave the homily, in preparing for which he spent hours at State libraries, tracking down records of events in Tasmania on February 24, 1918 – Sr Josephine’s birthdate.
At the conclusion of Mass, they invited Josephine to join them for the final blessing. Fr Zaher held Jo’s hand in his own and they did the blessing together, with Fr Mal extending his hand above them both.
A delicious afternoon tea followed, during which everyone had the opportunity to mingle and to greet the guest of honour. After Jo cut the birthday cake, Sr Margaret Beirne gave the toast, identifying ways in which Jo had “grown in wisdom, age and grace” and concluding with a quote from a recent survey of Australian centenarians that is so true of Josephine: “Centenarians tend to focus on what they still have and can do, rather than what they no longer have nor are able to do.”
Josephine then responded (without a note) offering her deep gratitude to all those who had contributed to the occasion: her Mononia community, the priest celebrants, the pianist, the caterers and all those who had come to celebrate this very special occasion with her. Jo, warmest congratulations, love and prayers from every one of us. Ad multos annos!
Image 1: The card; Image 2: Sr Josephine at her 100th birthday party; Images 3 – 5: Congratulations from the Queen, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister; Image 6: Sr Jo with the priests who concelebrated Mass; Image 7: Sr Jo with Sr Liz Dodds; Image 8: Srs Cathy Meese and Josephine; Image 9: The centenary cake.
Sr Amanda Nguyen renews her vows at Mononia, January 2018
Congregational Leader, Sr Clare Nolan and CL&C members Sr Cate O’Brien and Sr Suzette Clark joined members of the Mononia and Deepdene communities in Melbourne for the renewal of her vows by Sr Amanda Nguyen on Tuesday, January 23.
Image 1: 1 Back row- Srs Cate, Virginia Mahony, Pam Grime, Suzette, Clare, Amanda, Colleen Jackson, Mary Gabriel, Anna Parlevliet, Regina Millard; Front row – Srs Helen Malone, Patricia Walker, Josephine Cannell, Margaret Mary O’Rourke, and Deirdre Hickey. Image 2: Sr Josephine and Sr Amanda; Image 3: Srs Clare, Amanda, and Regina; Image 4: Blessings for Sr Amanda; Image 5: Sr Amanda
Sr Elizabeth Wall’s Golden Jubilee Mass and celebration January 2018
Sr Lizzie celebrated 50 years professed on a Thursday in Sydney, surrounded by her Sisters and her loving family. Congregational Leader, Sr Clare, welcomed guests:
“On behalf of all Sisters of Charity – welcome! Welcome to our Sisters, particularly Lizzie’s community; welcome to Lizzie’s family and friends, and to our celebrant Fr Isaac Koi msc, Fr John Gibson, and Fr ray Farrell, who will join with us in giving thanks to God for all that has brought Lizzie to this day. What is it that we celebrate today? We celebrate our baptismal call and Lizzie’s faithfulness to a deepening of that call from God t be a Sister of Charity a daughter f Mary Aikenhead, living the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and service of the poor in our world and Church. We celebrate this Sister of Charity who has given her life for love. Sister of love, Gospel woman, contemplative in action, servant of the poor in the spirit of Mary Aikenhead. We celebrate the uniqueness of Lizzie and her many gifts and talents.”
Image 1: Sr Elizabeth with her Papal blessing. Image 2: The concelebrants on the altar at St Vincent’s Care services Chapel, Auburn. Image 3: Sr Clare Nolan, the Congregational Leader, welcomes the guests to Sr Lizzie’s Jubilee Mass. Image 4: Sr Lizzie surrounded by her loving family. Image 4: r Lizzie (centre), with her brother, and Sr Clare. Image 5: Sr Lizzie and her sister. Image 6: Sr Jean Montgomery and Sr Mary Philippine Humphreys. Image 7: The cake!
OLN pilgrimage day: RSCs turn out in support January 2018
January 10 – the anniversary of Eileen O’Connor’s death – is set aside as a special day of pilgrimage and prayer to the Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor Home at 35 Dudley Street, Coogee.
Sr Clare, as Congregational Leader of the order established by Eileen, attended the day, with the Sister Companion, Sr Gaye Reynolds rsc. More than 100 attended Mass, concelebrated by Fr Dan Donovan, Bishop Terry Brady, and Salesian Fr Brendan Murphy. Six other Sisters of Charity were in attendance.
Image 1: Srs Virginia Wilkinson, Jean Montgomery, Deirdre Hickey, Margaret Valentine, Clare Nolan, Gaye Reynolds, Liz Dodds, and Annette Cunliffe. Image 2: Sr Clare and Sr Gaye with eight of the OLNs: (Back row) Srs Pauline Fogarty, Kerry MacDermott, Gabriel Bast, Anne O’Shaughnessy, Patricia Malone, Margaret Mary Birgan; (Front row) Srs Greta Gabb, Patricia Murphy. Image 3 Sr Mary Margaret and Congregational Leader Sr Clare with Eileen O’Connors niece (second from left).
Sr Anthea Groves farewelled from St Vincent’s Darlinghurst December 2017
The outpouring of love from the staff at St Vincent’s in Sydney was almost overwhelming as news spread that Sr Anthea was completing her ministry on the Darlinghurst campus in the week before Christmas. Her door was festooned with notes, post-its, and letters to remind Sr Anthea of how much she was loved and appreciated, and how valuable her 54-year ministry has been to so many.
Sam said it succinctly: “(Yesterday) will be one of the saddest this campus has had… you will be missed dearly and never forgotten.” More than 500 staff members gathered to form a guard of honour as Sr Anthea left the hospital. Sr Anthea was clearly overwhelmed by her farewell, but was assisted by Sr Sesarina Bau, who provides support to patients and their families, as well as to staff, in the Intensive Care Unit of SVH.
Sr Colleen Bell celebrates her ” Wisdom” birthday December 2017
Sisters of Charity gathered at St Columba’s College Chapel for a Liturgy to mark the 90th birthday of Sr Colleen Bell. Afternoon tea in the staff room at the College followed. April Honeyman, previous principal at the College, organised the afternoon with the help of Sr Tess Marcelo.
1 Sr Clare with Sr Marguerite Moloney and Sister Colleen; 2 The chapel; 3 the afternoon tea
Sr Elizabeth Costigan retires from Catholic Ladies College, Eltham – December 2017
Sr Liz was farewelled with a morning tea at the school at the beginning of December. She was joined by some of her Sisters at this celebration of her ministry at the school.
Image from left to right (rear): Sr Judith Peart, Sr Liz, Sr Tess Marcelo; (front) Sr Maureen Delaney, Sr Loretta Bani. Image 2: The table set for morning tea. Image 3: Sr Loretta, and Sr Liz.
The Sisters of Charity leave St Canice’s in Katoomba as Sr Colleen Holohan retires – November 2017
Late November, 2017: Sr Colleen was farewelled from the school where she has ministered for nearly 25 years on Sunday. Liturgy, music and a light lunch allowed her Sisters and the school community to acknowledge her service with love and gratitude.
Image 1: The school. Image 2: The liturgy attendees with the Sisters of Charity in the front row. Image 3: A student with the collage made for Sr Colleen. Image 4: Sr Colleen. Image 5: Carolyn Armstrong pays tribute to Sr Colleen on behalf of St Canice’s’ parents. Image 6: Cutting the cake. Image 7: The cake. Image 8: The Sisters of Charity in attendance. From left, Colleen Mills, Mary Maguire, Virginia Wilkinson, Deirdre Hickey, Margaret Guy, Colleen Holohan, Clare Nolan, Colleen Noonan, and Margaret Fitzgerald. Image 9: Some of the Sisters who used to teach at St Canice’s.
A party for six of this year’s Jubilarians – November 2017
Five of our Jubilarians this year live in Melbourne, so that is where the Sisters of Charity gathered at CLC Eltham to celebrate Sr Josephine Cannell (80 years), Sr Helen Malone, Sr Marguerite Moloney, Sr Eileen Thynne (70 years), Sr Elizabeth Costigan (60 years), and Sr Regina Millard (50 years). As well, Congregational leader Sr Clare also marked her Golden Jubilee with the Congregation.
1: Sr Elizabeth Costigan, Sr Josephine Cannell, Sr Deirdre Hickey. 2: Sr Eileen Thynne, Sr Marguerite Moloney, Sr Helen Malone. 3: Congregational Leader, Sr Clare Nolan with Sr Regina Millard. 4: Sr Regina Millard. 5: Sr Marguerite Moloney. 6: Sr Helen Malone. 7: Sr Eileen Thynne. 8: Sr Clare Nolan (50 years). 9: Sr Cathy Meese, Sr Regina Millard, Sr Josephine Cannell.
Sisters of Charity in Tasmania – October 2017
1 Sr Josephine Cannell 2 Sr Anne Turner 3 Sr Jean Montgomery 4 Sr Margaret Guy 5 Sr Deirdre Hickey 6 Sr Genny Walsh 7 Sr Judith Christy 8 Sr Helga Neidhart 9 Sr Virginia Wilkinson 10 Sr Regina Millard 11 Sr Margaret Valentine 12 Sr Anne Mayberry
The Footsteps to Freedom sculptures, Hobart, October 2017
1 Sr Clare with the sculptor Rowan Gillsepie and Toby. 2 The Sisters with Toby. The official party, including the Governor Tasmania, the President of Ireland, and the Sisters of Charity Congregational Leader, Sr Clare Nolan. 4 The organising committee for the Hobart weekend: Sr Anne Turner, Sr Helga Neidhart, and Councillor Sr Cate O’Brien. 5 Sr Clare greets Michael Higgins, the Irish president. 6 Sculptures. 7 Sr Clare and Rowan Gillsepie. 8 Sculptures at night 9 When Clare met Toby
Marking 170 years of the Sisters of Charity in Tasmania
1 The original Sisters in Van Diemen’s Land 2 Sr Cate O’Brien lights the candle for the Liturgy on the dock 3 Sr Clare Nolan at the Liturgy 4 Sr Angela Burke and Sr Jennifer Fahey 5 and 6 The Liturgy at Cornelian Bay
The 60th anniversary of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Brisbane, September 2017
On 8 September, Sisters, staff and friends of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Brisbane came together for a Eucharistic celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Hospital, originally Mount Olivet Hospice.
The main celebrant was Monsignor Peter Meneely VG and the concelebrant was the hospital chaplain, Fr James O’Donoghue. The liturgy and booklets were prepared by the Mission Executive, Michael Hart, and the altar decorated by Jeannie Johnston.
Picture 1: Blessing of Plaques prayer booklet cover Picture 2: James O’Donoghue blessing the Plaque of Sr Nola Riley on Floor 3 Picture 3: Sr Jeannie Johnston sharing some of the story of Mary Bedford’s generosity in donating the land Pciture 4: The prayer booklet
The Jubilees in August. 2017
Five Sisters of Charity celebrated their Jubilees in August: Sr Regina Millard, 50 years; Sr Liz Costigan, 60 years, and Srs Helen Malone, Eileen Thynne, and Marguerite Moloney, 70 years. With Sr Clare Nolan, the Congregational Leader in images 1 and 3, and with Sr Clare, Sisters, and family in shot 2.
A special event in the lives of Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor and the Sisters of Charity of Australia – July 1, 2017
Pictures 1) the Chapel of Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor at Coogee; 2) Sr Margaret Mary Birgan oln, Sydney’s Bishop Anthony Randazzo, and Sr Clare Nolan rsc; 3) Srs Clare and Margaret Mary 4) Sr Marias Casey rsj, President of the Australia and New Zealand Canon Law Society, and Sisters of Charity Vicar Sr Margaret Beirne rsc; 5) Sr Clare, Sr Margaret Mary and Bp Randazzo sign the agreement; 6) Sr Margaret Mary presents Sr Clare with a beautiful bouquet; 7) the crests of the two congregations; 8) two canon lawyers – Sr Maria Casey rsj and Sr Patricia Scully rsc; afternoon tea with Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor
Leaving Clifton Hill – April 2017
In the Footsteps of the Pioneer Sisters in Tasmania – March 2017
The annual pilgrimage in March to Hobart to walk in the footsteps of the first Sisters on the island began with a visit to the docks (1), and then moved on the next morning to the Cascades Female Factory (3) where Sr Margaret Clarke and former Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle unveiled a plaque; the pilgrim group (4) and (5); and a visit to the Carnelian Bay Cemetery (6) where the pioneering Sisters are interred.