Companions Jubilee celebrations
Congregational Leader, Sr Clare Nolan, spoke at the event @ Catholic Ladies’ College, Eltham on Saturday, November 23. Here is what she said:
This is a very special day today and it has many facets for celebration.
Jubilarians Dawn Bang, 70 years, Maryanne Confoy, 60 years, and Margaret Valentine celebrating 50 years. And we remember Colleen Bell who is celebrating her 70 years in Heaven. You are each an inspiration to us and it is wonderful to celebrate with you. As I reflected on your years of loving service, I was reminded of St Paul’s words “Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. God’s yes and our yes together, gloriously evident.” Yes, gloriously evident in the sum of your years. We salute you today.
Today gives us a special opportunity to see the thread that continues to bind us each step of our way:
- 180 years ago, the Sisters of Charity arrived in Sydney. What adventurous, brave and professional group of women those first five sisters were. They were not young and naïve – average age was 35.
- In the next edition of Keep In Touch, we are celebrating the Theresians and our RSC Companions Sr Therese Cotter founded the Theresians and set up her first club at Sacred Heart Church, Darlinghurst preparing children for first holy communion, welcoming Catholics returning to the Church and instructing others. Its early years are barely remembered but as time went by the Club grew larger and stronger. Many Theresians discovered their vocations and entered religious orders
- Celebrating 11 years of RSC Companions in both Melbourne and Sydney. This idea is rooted in the Sisters of Charity tradition evident here today in each of you celebrating with us. You expressed that the RSC Companions inspired you and Mary Aikenhead’s dream and her spirit attracted you.
So aren’t we blessed? The opening of the Heritage and Archive Centre has become a place of pilgrimage. I encourage all of you to visit if you are in Sydney sometime. It is not a museum to us but a place of transformation for all who visit.
Image 1: Srs Margaret Valentine, Joan Stapleton, and Catherine Meese; 2: Srs Tess Marcelo and Judith Christy; 3 and 4: Sisters at lunch
Masses of Thanksgiving for Benefactors and Donors
From Sr Anne Turner in Hobart:
Our inaugural Mass of Thanksgiving for Benefactors and Donors in Tasmania was a celebration of wonderful memories, deep gratitude, lifelong friendships, and the sheer joy of a loving community rejoicing together.
Father Brian Nichols, our parish priest, celebrated Mass for us, the readers and other participants were chosen for their support of our Sisters over many years, and the singing was lead by the magnificent choir from Mt. Carmel College and organist and choirmaster, David McNamara. Actually, quite a few admitted that they had wept during the exquisitely beautiful singing of the “Panis Angelicus”.
The delicious morning tea was organised by Anne Hayward, a revered staff member of Mt. Carmel College, and her generous helpers.
We were honoured to have Sister Clare with us in Tasmania. In fact, many commented on her relaxed, friendly manner and her bright smile and said how lovely it was to meet her.
Our first Mass of Thanksgiving was, indeed, a heart-warming celebration of the friends and supporters of the Sisters of Charity in Tasmania! – Anne rsc
Images: Sr Clare Nolan and Sr Anne Turner; Sr Clare with Father Brian Nichols, celebrant and Parish Priest of Sandy Bay; Laurie Wolfe, former Principal of Mt Carmel College,with Kerrie Loveluck, the college’s business manager; with Clare Sr Clare with Paddy McKay, life-long friend and supporter of the Sisters of Charity in Tasmania; Sr Clare with Elizabeth Nicol, Sr Josephine Cannell’s niece, at the Tasmanian gathering of Benefactors and Donors; Lisa Burnett has a cup o tea
From Sr Suzette Clark in Brisbane:
An estimated 60 people gathered in Giovanni Chapel for the Mass. Fathers James O’Donoghue, Jerome and Martin concelebrated. A choir from Mt St Michael’s College Ashgrove provided the music.
Participants included: Ten Sisters of Charity, the principal and several staff members from Mt St Michael’s, MAM Trustees Gary Humphreys and Michael Drew, family members of some of our Sisters, Merve Gotten who travelled from Toowoomba and Joyce Cowley, 94 and the oldest living ex-student of Mt St Michael’s.
In my Welcome, I noted that we were celebrating Mass in the Giovanni Chapel, surely one of the greatest signs of the loving generosity of our benefactors and donors.
Support Co-Ordinator Queensland, Penny Strang, was present and had organised refreshments to follow. — Suzette rsc
Image 1: Father James O’Donoghue in the Giovanni Chapel for the Mass; 2: Srs Mathilde Harnischfeger and Margaret Mines; 3: Sr Patricia Heenan; Sr Carmel Coyle
From Sr Margaret Beirne in Sydney:
We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of this land upon which we now live and work. We offer respect to the Elders past, present and emerging, and their descendants who continue to live within the community. We walk together towards the future and say: Amen.
On behalf of the Sisters of Charity, it is my privilege to welcome you here today to our Eucharistic celebration. We want to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you for your great kindness, generosity and support of the mission that we all share: to bring the love of Christ to all, especially the poor.
An important part of our history and tradition as Sisters of Charity, instilled in us from the novitiate, has been to acknowledge with deep gratitude, and pray regularly for our benefactors and donors.
When Mary Aikenhead realised there was a serious need for a hospital for the sick poor in Dublin, she welcomed the support of many of her friends and acquaintances, both Catholic and Protestant, and the generous giving of their expertise on the part of doctors and nurses. With generous donations, she was able to buy a mansion at St Stephen’s Green and, in 1834, opened the first St Vincent’s Hospital. She constantly urged her sisters to pray for these generous donors and benefactors.
Likewise, here in Sydney, St Vincent’s Hospital may never have come about without the financial and professional support of the laity, again including Protestants and Catholics. Nor would we have been able to commence and take care of schools except for the support of friends who contributed from their own limited financial resources and in many other ways. These include freely giving of their experience and skills often over many years.
We also deeply appreciate the support of our priest friends. Thank you to our main celebrant, Fr Kevin Walsh, Sr Genny’s brother and dear friend to all of us, and to Fr Darryl who cares so amiably and inclusively as chaplain at St Vincent’s.
This generosity of people such as yourselves, and those who have gone before you, continues to this day. We decided this year to offer an opportunity not only to pray for you, but to pray with you, in the best way we know how.
Let us also join with those friends and sisters who are celebrating at this same time, in Hobart, Melbourne and Brisbane. For you and for all those who are with us in spirit today, we pray during this Eucharist, in the words of St Paul, that
“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity; for your rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of God’s people but also overflows with much thanksgiving to God.” (2 Cor 9:11-12)
Renewed thanks to all who have made this celebration possible: The friars for making this church and parish hall available to us; to Mr Bransby Byrne for providing us with his wonderful gifts as our organist; to Sr Maria Wheeler who has led the planning for all of today’s celebrations. And, most importantly, to each of you for your presence with us today. Let us now continue our friendship as we enjoy morning tea in the adjoining parish hall.
Image 1: Sisters gather for the Benefactors Mass; 2: Sr Margaret Beirne and Fr Kevin Walsh; 3: Fr Darryl Mackie and Sr Helen Clarke: 4: Srs Annette Cunliffe and Maureen Heffernan; Sr Maria Wheeler and Robert Cahill; 5: Director of Catholic Mission, Fr Brian Lucas, and Sr Genevieve Walsh
The inaugural Mass of Thanksgiving for Benefactors and Donors in Melbourne
Image 1: Fr John Hannan at the altar in St Theresa’s Church, Essendon; 2: Sisters at Mass; 3: Sr Cate O’Brien with Noel O’Brien; Srs Patricia Scully and Denise Hannebery (Rita Grima, Principal of St Columba’s College in red talking to Sr Maryanne Confoy in the background).
The August Jubilees
Eight Sisters of Charity celebrated their Jubilees in August – platinum, diamond, and gold.
Here are some photographs from those celebrations.
Sr Dawn Bang, 70th anniversary of profession, in Melbourne
Sr Dawn; Sr Colleen Jackson with Sr Dawn; Sr Dawn with Sr Virginia Mahony; Sr Helen Malone; A blessing for Sr Dawn from her Sisters; Srs Catherine Meese, Elizabeth Costigan, and Margaret Nabbs
Sr Virginia Wilkinson, 70th anniversary of Profession, in Sydney
Sr Virginia reading her vows with Congregational Leader, Sr Clare Nolan; Sr Virginia with her Papal blessing; Sr Virginia with Sr St Jude Doyle
Sr Maryanne Confoy, 60th anniversary of Profession in Melbourne
Sr Maureen Parker, 60th anniversary of Profession in Brisbane
Sr Maureen celebrated with the Sisters in Brisbane. Images show her with the Congregational Leader, Sr Clare Nolan
Sr Margaret Valentine, 50th anniversary of Profession in Sydney
All Saints’ School in Liverpool marked the Golden Jubilee of profession for St Margaret with a special celebration
Sr Kathleen Fitzpatrick, 50th anniversary of Profession in Sydney
On August 26, a small group gathered with Sr Mary Cooke at Stella Maris Cronulla to celebrate her 90th birthday. Mary had been looking forward to this day and asked for a “simple” celebration to be shared with her companion sister, Sr Kate Fitzpatrick (above) whose golden jubilee occurred the same day but who wished only to be included in the prayer service.
The prayer service became a Eucharist during which Congregational Leader Sr Clare Nolan gave a blessing to Mary and an acknowledgement of Sr Kate’s 50 years of loving commitment, ministry and generous sharing of her creative gifts, complementing this with giving the Papal Blessing. The theme of our Eucharist was from Isaiah 46:4, “I will protect and carry you all the days of your life”. May we continue to pray this for Mary and Kate, and for all those whose lives they encounter.
The Consul-General for Ireland visits the Heritage Centre, August 2019
Image 1: Getting ready for the arrival of the Consul General for Ireland, Owen Feeney; 2: Congregation Leader Sr Clare with Consul-General Owen Feeney and a member of staff at the Consulate, Lorna Hennessy; 3: With the bust of Mary Aikenhead at the beginning of the exhibition; 5: Sr Deirdre Hickey and Sr Maureen Walters
Sr Kerry Barrass celebrated at her 80th birthday lunch, August 2019
Sr Kerry is an extremely energetic 80 year old, and devoted to her ministries. Some of the people she has touched during her years as a Sister of Charity gathered on August 3 at Dooleys Catholic Club at Regent’s Park to honour her on her birthday.
Image 1: Srs Deirdre Hickey, Kerry Barrass, Community Leader, Clare Nolan; 2: Sr Margaret Valentine; 3: Srs Frances Graham and Sr Kerry; 4: The cake! 5: Fr Trevor Hird, Srs Genevieve Walsh and Sr Kerry; 6: Organiser of the event, Joy Halloran and Sr Kerry; 7: Srs Virginia Wilkinson, Kerry and Maureen Walters; 8: Srs Eileen Brown, Edith King, and Eileen O’Carrigan
Studies in grace: The latest portraits of 32 Sisters of Charity, June 2019
Photographer Tim Bauer took these portraits of some of the Sisters of Charity who attended the opening of the Heritage Centre and Congregational Archives in June 2019.
Sr Pauline Nicholson; Sr Suzette Clark; Sr Regina Millard
Sr Margaret Valentine; Sr Margaret Scully; Sr Linda Ferrington
Sr Leone Wittmack; Sr Kathleen Doohan; Sr Amanda Nguyen
Sr Judith Clark; Sr Josephine Cannell; Sr Jennifer Fahey
Sr Genevieve Walsh and Sr Margaret Fitzgerald; Sr Jeannie Johnston; Sr Jacinta Fong
Sr Gaye Reynolds; Sr Elizabeth Harper; Sr Helga Neidhart
Sr Colleen Noonan; Sr Clare Nolan, the Congregational Leader; Sr Elizabeth Costigan
Sr Anthea Groves; Sr Dorothy Bayliss; Sr Deirdre Hickey
Sr Christine Henry; Sr Anne Turner; Sr Catherine Meese
Sr Anne Taylor; Sr Angela Burke; Sr Cate O’Brien
Sr Annette Cunliffe
Scenes from the official opening of the Heritage Centre and Archives, Sydney, June 2019
Sr Regina Millard and Sr Margaret Scully in one of the exhibition galleries; some of the art works of the Sisters; a pre-Vatican II habit
An award to Sr Colleen Jackson; two of the crucifixes the Sisters invariably wear; the front door key to Tarmons
Photographer Tim Bauer; Sr Anne Mayberry, Anthea Groves, Jeannie Johnston; Sr Clare with architect Robert Cahill, head of the Heritage Centre committee, and Sr Annette Cunliffe;
Srs Anne Turner and Enid Doherty; Sr Genevieve Walsh and the Heritage Centre manager, Rachel Mensforth; Srs Leone Wittmack and Cate O’Brien
Sr Margaret Fitzgerald and Chris Bath, MC for the morning; Srs Margaret Guy and Dorothy Hickey; Srs Margaret Beirne and Regina Millard
Some more images from the opening of the Heritage Centre and Archives, June 2019
Image 1: Sr Judith Clark, Sr Anne Turner; 2: Sr Jan O’Grady, Sr Annette Cunliffe; 3: The Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP;
Image 4: Srs Margaret Fitzgerald, Jacinta Fong, Colleen Mills; 5: Srs Elizabeth Costigan, Suzette Clark; 6: Srs Margaret Guy, Eileen Brown;
Image 7: Srs Margaret, Jacinta and Genny get ready for their shot with the Fairfax photographer; 8: Sr Clare and MC Chris Bath; 9: Sr Laureen Dixon and Sr Rose Holman
Image 11: The artist, Lisa Buxton; 12: The painting at the entrance of the Heritage Centre
The Heritage Centre and Archives officially open! June 6, 2019
Image 1: Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and Fr Lewi during the liturgy; 2: The Archbishop with Councillors Sr Margaret Beirne and Cate O’Brien; 3: Sr Clare delivers her address;
4: The chapel at St Vincent’s College, Potts Point; 5: Sisters in the chapel; 6: The altar;
7: More Sisters in the chapel; 8: Chris Bath from ABC Radio Sydney and 10 News was MC; 9: The St Vincent’s College choir;
10: Anne Fry, Principal of St Vincent’s, Potts Point; 11: Among the symbols being blessed, images of the Foundress, the Venerable Mary Aikenhead; 12: Another symbol – the profession ring of Sr M. Francis de Sales O’Brien, one of the first Sisters;
13: Sr Laureen Dixon and Sr Annette Cunliffe; Sr Cate O’Brien and Sr Margaret Beirne; Indigenous artist, Lisa Buxton
Sneak peek: The Sisters of Charity of Australia Heritage Centre (2), May 2019
More glimpses of the Sisters of Charity Heritage Centre: Image 1,2, 3 – exteriors on Rockwell Crescent, Potts Points; Image 4 – the courtyard; Image 5 – the view of the grotto in the grounds of St Vincent’s College, Potts Point; Image 6 – the peak of the St Vincent’s Chapel, with the Heritage Centre in the foreground. Pictures by Tim Bauer
Sneak peek: The Sisters of Charity of Australia Heritage Centre (1), April 2019
The Heritage Centre will be opened on June 6 by Sydney’s Archbishop, Anthony Fisher OP. Here are some of the more intimate glimpses of the space which has been created to house a permanent exhibition and the Sisters’ Archives. These pictures by Tim Bauer.
Image 1: The Venerable Mary Aikenhead, foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Australia,at the entrance to the permanent exhibition; Image 2 and 3: Exterior details; Image 4 and 5: Compactus storage in the Archives; Image 6: Lockers in the reception area; Images 7, 8, 9 and 10: Staircase details; Image 11: Handrail detail
The Sisters gather at CLC Eltham to celebrate 2018 Jubilarians, November 2018
Some of our Jubilarians gathered this year again at CLC Eltham with their Sisters, families, and friends for their celebratory lunch. They included Golden Jubilarians Srs Anne Mayberry and Margaret Sapsford, and Diamond Jubilarian, Sr Denise Hannebery.
Image 1 and 2: The function space at CLC Eltham
Image 3: Sr Regina Millard and Sr Josephine Cannell; 4: Sr Judith Peart and Sr Gaye Reynolds
Image 5: Sr Pam Grime; Image 6: Sr Mary Gabrielle Clarke; Image 7: Sr Maryanne Confoy
Image 8: Sr Elizabeth Dodds; Image 9, Sr Denise Hannebery; Image 10: Sr Judith Christy
Image 11: Sr Joan Stapleton; Image 12: Sr Gaye Reynolds and Sr Margaret Sapsford
Image 13: Sr Deirdre Hickey; Image 14: Sr Josephine; Image 15: Sr Anne Mayberry
Sisters of Charity Foundation annual scholarship announcement, November 2018
Government House, Sydney; The gardens of Government House looking to the Harbour; SOCF CEO, Reba Meagher and her son, Louis
Sr Margaret Valentine; Sr Margaret Guy; Sr M. St Jude Doyle
Sr Annette Cunliffe and John Cahill. Chief Investment Officer of the Sisters of Charity; Sr Pauline Staunton; Sr Gaye Reynolds
Srs Genny Walsh. Cate O’Brien, Suzette Clark; Sr Angela Bourke with Judy Christie, Company Secretary of the SOFC; Congratulations to the winner. Below, all the Sisters of Charity at the event – Srs Cate O’Brien, Annette Cunliffe, Angela Burke, Margaret Valentine, Pauline Staunton, Gaye Reynolds, Maureen Heffernan, Sr M. St Jude Doyle, Maria Wheeler, Deirdre Hickey, Suzette Clark, Clare Nolan, Margaret Guy, Genny Walsh, Anthea Groves, and Margaret Beirne
Opening of the Sr Francis McGuigan wing, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Sydney, November 2018
On November 1, 2018, the new wing of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Sydney was opened. Also unveiled was a portrait of one of the hospital’s major benefactors, Mrs Ros Packer. Read the story here.
Images left to right: Sr Clare Nolan, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Charity of Australia; Charles Curran, Chair of the Trustees of St Vincent’s Curran Foundation with the Nicholas Harding portrait of Ros Packer; Sr Clare greets former NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner
Ros Packer with her portrait; Sr Deirdre Hickey; Sr Jacinta Fong
Sr Robyn Wheeler; Sr Jan O’Grady; Sr Linda Ferrington
Sr Clare, Sydney’s Bishop Terry Brady, and the chaplain at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Fr Darryl Mackie;
Bishop Brady, Sr Margaret Beirne, Fr Darryl; Srs Maria Wheeler, Jennifer Fahey, Pauline Staunton
Terry Underwood, Ros Packer, Sr Anthea Groves, Gretel Packer; Ros Packer, Anthea Groves, Terry Underwood, and Gretel Packer
Mercy Centre Parramatta Ground Painting Ceremony, October 2018
Sisters Cate O’Brien and Suzette Clark were at the Mercy Centre in Parramatta on the weekend of October 13 for a ceremony to mark the inauguration of t new ground painting by Ngemba artist, Danny Eastwood. The centre is on the site of the Sisters of Charity’s first convent in Australia, a link which dates from 1839.
Since then, The Good Samaritan Sisters, and the Sisters of Mercy North Sydney and the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta have been on the site.
Danny was commissioned by the Sister of Mercy Parramatta to recognise and acknowledge the continuous occupation and lived culture of the Darug people in this area.
Danny has named his painting The Journey, for which used traditional Aboriginal designs to depict aspects of Darug life in the local Parramatta area and to reflect the ministries of groups of Women Religious who have lived and ministered on this site and beyond.
Image 1: Sr Cate and Sr Suzette; Image 2: The memorial cairn in the painting; Image 3: detail of the painting: Image 4: Sr Cate (left) and Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv; Image 5: Detail from the beginning of the painting depicting the ship bringing the five Sisters from Ireland; Image 6: The painting in the garden.
Some of our Sisters of Charity of Australia, June 2018
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 Maureen Delaney
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.