Archived News Item
2016 – A SIGNIFICANT YEARJanuary 19, 2016
2016 is a significant year for all Mercy sisters and their colleagues, associates and friends. There are a number of anniversaries which mark the growth of the ministry of the Sisters throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea.
What and Whom are we celebrating?
JANUARY 8, 1846 – 170 Years – Perth
On this day, 170 years ago, the first Sisters of Mercy arrived in Australia. It was at dawn on that day in 1846 that Sr Ursula Frayne and her 6 sister companions, waded to shore in Fremantle, Western Australia (there being no jetty). The following day, January 9, they travelled up the Swan River to Perth.
JANUARY 23, 1876 – 140 Years – Bendigo
On this day, three Sisters of Mercy and four trainee sisters (postulants) were given a grand liturgical welcome in St. Kilian’s Church, Bendigo. The group had left Ireland for Australia on October 1, 1875 in response to a request from the Bishop of Sandhurst to serve in his Diocese.
JANUARY 30, 1956 – 60 Years – Papua New Guinea
On this day, 60 years ago, the four pioneer Sisters from the Congregations of Singleton, Bathurst, Adelaide and Perth arrived in Goroka, to establish a Mercy presence and mission in Papua New Guinea.
MAY 25, 1896 – 120 Years – West Perth
On this day a second independent community of the Sisters of Mercy was established in Perth. On 16 July 1888, the Sisters of Mercy had commenced the operation of a school (called St Brigid’s) in a cottage on John Street, Perth. Student numbers grew, necessitating the construction of a convent chapel with accommodation for larger numbers of the Sisters of Mercy required to run the school. The convent building was completed in 1896.
JULY 1896 – 130 Years – North Melbourne
In 1886 a group of six Sisters from the Convent of Mercy, Geelong, established the first Convent of Mercy in Hotham, as North Melbourne was then known.
OCTOBER 31, 1866 – 150 Years – Bathurst
On this day, 150 years ago, a group of seven Sisters of Mercy from Charleville, County Cork, Ireland arrived in Bathurst at the invitation of the first Catholic Bishop of Bathurst, Dr Matthew Quinn. The sisters took over the Catholic primary school and opened a day and boarding High School for young women, attending to the religious and secular education of the children. They also cared for orphans, trained older girls and helped them to find work. They visited the poor, the sick and the inmates of the local jail. Their kind and zealous ministry in education overcame many prejudices of the day and bore fruit in greater harmony in the Bathurst community.
As we remember and celebrate these events, we also join with the Universal Church in the celebration of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. This is indeed a year of great richness for the life and mission of our Institute. The call to be people of Mercy no matter where we are located, no matter our age and stage of life, is ever new.
Ursula Frayne wrote, as she reflected on the enormity of the call to set out once again into an unfamiliar land: “God of Mercy, I go with a sense of your call; let it be true and give me strength for the journey.”
May Ursula’s prayer give us strength and courage for the actual and the virtual, the personal and the collective journeys which lie ahead as we continue to shape and give life to our mission of Mercy.
Sr Berneice Loch – Institute Leader
Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
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