The Sisters of Charity, Australia’s first Catholic order, will be opening The Sisters of Charity Heritage Centre, an archival museum in Potts Point, Sydney on 6 June. To be opened by Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney, the Heritage Centre is a place to provide connection to the history and charism of the Sisters of Charity.
The Centre will exemplify their significant contribution and achievements since the arrival of the five Pioneer Sisters in Sydney in 1838. The Centre also includes a meeting room and contemplative spaces including the St Vincent’s Chapel and courtyard.
“The Heritage Centre is designed to tell the story of the Sisters and the work they have done since arriving in Australia 180 years ago. The Heritage Centre celebrates the Sisters of Charity story and that of religious women,” said Sr Clare Nolan, the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Charity of Australia.
In 1836 Australian Bishop Polding requested help from the Catholic Church to help alleviate poverty amongst female convicts. Five Sisters were recruited and they became known as The Sisters of Charity. The Sisters sailed into Sydney on New Year’s Eve in 1838 where they quickly saw they were needed in both education and health care.
Since that time, the Sisters have continued to read the signs of the times, and responded to needs not only in education, health, and aged care, but social welfare and social justice. Founding many schools and hospitals across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, the work of the Sisters of Charity has been nothing short of remarkable.
Today, the Sisters of Charity ministry act across many areas including:
- Sister Suzette Clark, who advocates for the prevention of human trafficking.
- Sister Jacinta Fong works at St Vincent’s Emergency Room and has an uncanny knack of being able to calm down ‘ice’ addicts.
- Sister Clare Nolan and Sister Deidre Hickey run temporary housing for families of patients staying at St Vincent’s Darlinghurst, NSW.
- Sister Cathy Meese works as a counsellor in the Prison Ministry in Melbourne, Victoria
- Sister Margaret Guy, who works at the Jesuit Refugee Service in Parramatta, NSW
- Sister Jan O’Grady, who teaches special needs children.
- Sister Anne Mayberry who provides assistance and transport services to those in remote and impoverished rural communities across NSW
- Sister Christine Henry who travels across Western Queensland to bring ‘Wellness Days’ to drought and poverty-stricken rural women.
The Sisters of Charity Heritage Centre is an exhibition and Congregational Archive of the Sisters of Charity. The Heritage Centre includes an experiential display of key elements of the life and work of the Sisters of Charity in Australia.
With thanks to the Sisters of Charity Australia.