Archived News Item
North Sydney sisters leaving St Mary’s ErskinevilleOctober 26, 2006
After 93 years of service, the North Sydney Sisters of Mercy are leaving St Mary’s School in Erskineville (NSW). To celebrate the significant contribution of the sisters, a special Mass will be held at St Mary’s Parish, Erskineville on Sunday November 5 at 9:00 am.
The sisters have administered the school since its foundation in 1913, and along with the school community, have helped to make Erskineville’s history and build the suburb’s strong sense of community through two World Wars, the Great Depression and into the twenty-first century. They have taught, loved and supported thousands of pupils and their families, living out the school motto “Learning to Live”.
Erskineville has been a poor working-class suburb, densely packed into workers’ cottages. Many waves of migrants have settled in the area finding work in the railways and factories. In the past, the place teemed with children, many wild and rather “˜unpolished’, who had a certain earthiness and toughness. The sisters needed to keep a firm hold.
The old workers’ cottages are being bought and renovated by younger families, but the culture and history of Erskineville remains at St Mary’s today. Diversity reigns, with the children of new families mingling with the children of recently arrived migrants and indigenous children whose families have been here for forty thousand years.
Many past students, now in their eighties, are living in the same houses they were born in and some of our students are fourth generation St Marys!
The school and the sisters who have so carefully tended it are part of Erskineville’s history and culture. The Sisters of Mercy will always belong to Erskineville and their legacy will continue even after they pass responsibility for the children to others.
Messages to Sister Margaret Farrell RSM