Archived News Item

Time Capsule Discovered at St Patrick’s Convent Chapel

Sisters present at opening of capsule. Back Row: Bev Hickson RSM, Dawn Furse RSM,  Alberta Busuttin RSM, Carmel King RSM, Bev Strong RSM and Mara Hogan RSM. Front Row from left: Catherine Cuddihy RSM, Wendy Piggott RSM, Regina O’Riorday RSM, Josephine Martyn RSM and Carmel Ruddick RSM.


When St Patrick’s Chapel on The Strand was being demolished as part of the building development project for St Patrick’s College the workmen found a Time Capsule in the Foundation Stone. This was given to Helen Mary Peters RSM as Chair of the Board of St Patrick’s College.


The opportunity to open the Time Capsule arose on 23 January 2019 when several sisters were gathered for an Information session presented by Mark Thompson, from the Institute Technology Team.  All waited in anticipation as Alberta Busuttin RSM opened the capsule and revealed the contents. Inside the capsule there was a written account of the Blessing of the Foundation Stone, a list of all sisters present, a section of The Rule and Constitutions and the heading for The Townsville Bulletin showing Saturday 9 August 1958 – the day prior to the Blessing.


On Sunday 10 August 1958 at 3.30pm the Foundation Stone was blessed and placed by His Lordship Most Rev. H.E. Ryan the second Bishop of the Townsville Diocese. The hand written account of the Blessing of the Foundation Stone gives details of Clergy who were present, the Mother Superiors since the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Townsville in November 1878 and the number of sisters in the Community (134 including 15 in the Novitiate).  Sister Mary Raymond Hammond RSM who was unable to be present for the opening of the Time Capsule wrote the words about the Blessing of the Foundation Stone on the parchment paper that was placed in the capsule.


The revealing of the contents was of great interest to the sisters as some present were there when the capsule was placed in the Foundation Stone on Sunday 10 August 1958. Some were in the Novitiate at this time or were young sisters but each recalled the Blessing and placing of the Foundation Stone.


It is uncertain who wrote the names of the sisters present at the Blessing and placement of the Foundation Stone. Sisters who were present and still with us today include: Sisters Mary Raymond Hammond RSM, Therese Mary Tredrea RSM, Alberta Busuttin RSM, Mary Leonard RSM (Carmel Arnold), M Anslem RSM (Dawn Furse), M Barbara RSM (Margery Daly), Monica Quilty RSM, Marie Leonie Williams RSM, Mary Luke RSM (Anita Ready), M Philomena Lowth RSM, M Damien RSM (Marie Therese Langan), M Regina O’Riordan RSM,  Paul Mary Hindom RSM,  Josephine Mary RSM (Nina Barra) and Francis Mary Whelan RSM.


Fortunately photos of the contents of the capsule were taken on the day as the Capsule was damaged in the recent Townsville floods and unable to be sent to the Institute Archives.


Wendy Piggott RSM and Catherine Cuddihy RSM reading the names of the sisters.


Carmel King RSM with Rule and Constitutions


Alberta Busuttin RSM reading a message


Alberta Busuttin RSM opening capsule


Words re Blessing of Foundation Stone


Townsville Bulletin showing date of edition


Time Capsule


Rules and Constitutions


Names of Sisters


Messages to: Beverley Strong RSM