Marlene Dunn rsj
Anzac Day 2006 had special meaning for 85 Sisters of St Joseph who gathered at Perthville, NSW, where 130 years earlier the first Diocesan Josephite congregation commenced.
Members of the five branches of the Federation of Sisters of St Joseph – Perthville (Bathurst), Goulburn, Lochinvar, Tasmania and Whanganui – were joined by the Congregational and NSW Leadership Teams of Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart. These Leaders met in discussion and prayer as a sign of a common desire to work towards closer connections and unity in mission.
During the gathering there were many reminders of how the original group founded in South Australia by Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods was influenced by the determination of Bishop Matthew Quinn to have Sisters under diocesan rule.
Also attending the meeting were representatives of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (Brisbane) founded by Fr Tenison Woods.
Perthville, which had been visited a number of times during the 1870s by both Mary MacKillop and Fr Tenison Woods, is a unique link site for Josephites. It is a place that represents connection, disconnection, reconciliation, reconnections.
The Sisters were reminded to learn from the patterns of the past and to take hope and encouragement from their feisty and courageous pioneering Sisters such as Hyacinth Quinlan, leader of the founding group to Whanganui in 1880.
The group of Leaders is planning ongoing meetings to consolidate common approaches to coming events such as World Youth Day, and to develop closer connections amongst all members of the Australian/Aotearoa New Zealand Josephite family.