Archived News Item

Where to for Australia’s first Mercy house?

Reflecting on the first foundation of Mercies in Australia brings forth many memories. From the first time Ursula Frayne and her companions stepped on the shore at Fremantle, Western Australia to the present day, the story has been written and videos and PowerPoints created at various times. Now we move forward to another historical moment.

The first Australian Mercy foundation house – Victoria Square Convent – what is its future? Over the past three years there have been consultations involving many people. Over the past month a Heritage Taskforce has been set up to take forward the heritage aspect of the convent.

The enthusiasm of this group at its first two meetings augers well for future development. All members are committed to taking on various tasks and research.

Keeping the sisters of the congregation involved and informed in the process is a key desire of the group. Already a document has been produced “Snippets from the Collective Memory of the Sisters”. This came out of a reflective morning spent recalling experiences and memories of different sections of the convent.

On November 3, sisters were invited to spend time together to reflect on the significance of the convent in their lives, in the life of the City of Perth, in the life of the extended community in Western Australia and beyond. The atmosphere throughout the building was electric, sensitive and joyful as small groups of sisters shared their responses. Over the buffet lunch, conversations continued and stories were told. The outcome of the shared insights and experiences will be written up as part of the “Significance Documentation”.

Sisters and friends beyond the Perth Congregation are invited to contribute any ideas about the significance of the convent and send them in – even ‘one liners’. As the Heritage Project develops we will continue to keep you up to date.

From: Sister Joan Smith RSM (Local Communications Facilitator, Perth)