Archived News Item

Gratitude and Celebrating a New Beginning for St Joseph’s Cowper

Pictured are Jude Eckerick (far left) from MacKillop Family Services; local Sisters of Mercy Clare Murphy RSM, Ann Grennan RSM, Jenny Hartley RSM, Mary Gallagher RSM, Denise Laverty RSM, Bernadette Eckersley RSM; Naomi Burke (red beads), District Manager Northern NSW with MacKillop; Graham Brotherson, St Joseph’s Cowper Board Member; Maryanne Jacobs, NSW State Director with MacKillop; Dr Robyn Miller, CEO, MacKillop (at rear with blond hair).


At the start of November, the NSW Managers Group from MacKillop Family Services met in Grafton at the ‘St Joseph’s Cowper’ facility (2 Villiers St). Chief Executive Officer of MacKillop, Dr Robyn Miller, invited the St Joseph’s Board members and the local Sisters to join them and the local staff for lunch. 


Sisters were welcomed back to their former home and thanks were expressed to them as well as the all local supporters for the St Joseph’s ministry over many years. The name ‘St Joseph’s Cowper’ is being retained, as well as the new ‘MacKillop Family Services’ title, and Robyn is keen to continue and re-build local community support. There was good story-telling after lunch and a wonderful optimism for the future was obvious.


MacKillop Family Services are expanding rapidly in northern NSW. The number of children in foster care has grown from 22 to 50, more properties for residential care have been purchased in Grafton and at Dunoon and negotiations re the Convent building are nearing completion.


Sisters viewed the various workplaces already well established downstairs and met some of the five children who are currently being cared for in Unit D (the former Novitiate and river rooms). This is the second family of five that have been housed here, able to be kept together in one family group while in temporary emergency care.


Overall, MacKillop personnel were very positive about present and potential future use of the Convent building. They are planning a great Christmas party for staff and children on the river bank on Dec 14 to which we are all invited. Those who know Graham (Grub) Brotherson, longtime Board member and even longer serving plumber to St Joseph’s, will enjoy the news that he was, on the spot, nominated as Santa for the occasion.


Messages to: Louise Carson, Mackillop Family Services



A new sign installed on the site.