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Monday, 19 January 2015 14:32

Missionary Sisters of Service book launched

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bruny island bookThe connection of the Missionary Sisters of Service to Bruny Island has been celebrated in a book launched during a recent pilgrimage to the island.

MSS archivist Sr Carmel Hall said The Bruny Island Connection, which was published as part of the order’s 70th anniversary, was important because of the link the sisters have with the island.

“[The island] was the catalyst…the idea came from Bruny for the founding of our order,” Sr Carmel said.

Sr Carmel said the book was a way of preserving the history of the order on Bruny Island.

The Bruny Island connection started 81 years ago, with a visit from the then 23 year-old, newly ordained priest, Fr John Wallis.

In those days the island was quite isolated, Catholics were often without mass and the children without religious instruction.

During that visit, islander Kit Hawkins challenged Fr Wallis about the Church’s responsibility to people living in country areas which set him pondering.

Fr Wallis continued to visit the island, providing care and instruction for its residents, often through letters, keeping the islanders and their cause close to his heart.

“He thought about it for 10 or 11 years and then he founded our order and we travelled by car to country towns all over Tasmania,” Sr Carmel said.

The pilgrimage drew together friends from the island, other parts of Tasmania and as far away as Cairns, Melbourne and Toowoomba, as well as representatives of families who were on the island when the idea of the sisters was first posed.

(Photo by Mary-Anne Johnson)

Read the related story by Penny Edman featuring the Bruny island pilgrimage celebration in honour of the 70th anniversary of the Missionary Sisters of Service.

This article was first published in the news webpage of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart.

Get more information on the book " The Bruny Island Connection" through the Missionary Sisters of Service.