Mission in pictures: The Sisters of Charity in FijiPrint
- by Assistant Archivist, Carlos Lopez
In preparing the Archives for its move into the new Heritage Centre and Archives, members of staff were tasked with identifying and removing photographic prints, negatives and slides from unprocessed accessions.
While undertaking this work, a significant collection of more than 250 photographic prints from the first overseas mission of the Sisters of Charity at Cawaci, Fiji was identified (for the period 1957 to 1965). Due to its significance, the collection was catalogued and rehoused. What first appeared to be a relatively straightforward process turned into a challenging, yet rewarding, three-month project.
The collection depicts scenes of daily life at the Sisters of Charity Convent, Maryhill, the Sisters of Our Lady of Nazareth (SOLN) Novitiate, St Teresa’s, and surrounding communities. These photographs show the faces of many unidentified SOLN postulants, novices, professed Sisters and lay people hailing from islands including Fiji, Rotuma, Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati. Some of these Sisters continued their studies with the Sisters of Charity in Australia, before returning to manage and work in hospitals and schools across the Pacific.
This collection serves to highlight the significance of the Archives, not only to the story of the Sisters of Charity, but to other Religious Congregations and communities in the Pacific and beyond. The new Heritage Centre and Archives provides an opportunity for the Congregation to engage and collaborate with these communities in remembering their collective heritage.