Sisters of St Joseph - Perthville celebrate 140 years
16th July 2012 marked the 140th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Sisters of St Joseph at Perthville in the Bathurst Diocese. Many people in the region will be aware of the wonderful work of the Sisters throughout the Diocese and beyond. People travelled from near and far to be with them for their three days of celebrations to mark this significant milestone.
The Sisters gave thanks for the innumerable blessings which they have received over the 140 years. In particular they expressed gratitude for the support, loyalty and encouragement given to them by many people from all walks of life.
Sisters of St Joseph came from throughout Australia, New Zealand and Peru on Saturday 14th July, to be at Perthville for a special day for Josephite sisters. The day’s activities attended by 155 Josephite sisters comprised a keynote address by Dr Marie Crowley, a special prayer service in the Sisters’ chapel, sharing stories, visiting the historic display and a formal dinner.
On Sunday, 15th July the celebrations included family and friends of the Sisters, people who have been connected with the Sisters through education in schools of the Diocese, as well as ex-students of Perthville, employees and people involved in the Sisters’ various ministries such as the Josephite Foundation.
A Mass was celebrated by Bishop Michael McKenna in the Perthville Chapel and this was followed by a luncheon for the 260 guests.
On Monday Josephites and other Religious Sisters of the Diocese gathered with the Bishop and Priests to mark the actual day when the Sisters of St Joseph began living and working at Perthville. Since 1872 the Sisters of St Joseph have ministered to many people in the Bathurst Diocese and elsewhere, endeavouring to carry forward the good news of Jesus, as envisioned by the Sisters of St Joseph Co-founders St Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Woods so many years ago.
It was on the 16th July 1872, that Sisters Teresa McDonald, Joseph Dwyer, Hyacinth Quinlan and Miss Ada Braham, arrived at The Vale (Perthville) to make a foundation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. They came at the invitation of Bishop Matthew Quinn who wanted them to establish convents and schools throughout the Bathurst Diocese.
The Sisters of St Joseph were founded in South Australia in 1866 by Father Julian Tenison Woods and Mother Mary of the Cross MacKillop to meet the educational needs of Catholic families and to support people who were poor and isolated. Perthville convent became the first foundation of the Sisters of St Joseph in New South Wales. It was from here that the foundations to Wanganui (NZ), Goulburn and Lochinvar (NSW), Westbury (Tasmania); Bungaree (VIC) and Suain (PNG) were made.
Over the past 140 years the Perthville Sisters of St Joseph have been involved in education, pastoral care, parish ministry, chaplaincy, support for migrants and refugees, prison ministry and prayer ministry throughout the Bathurst Diocese and beyond, including 30 years in PNG.