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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 11:07

160 years since the arrival of Mercy in Melbourne

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mercy melbourne 160thCelebrations are being held this year to mark 160 years since the arrival of the first three Sisters of Mercy in Melbourne, Victoria, as well as pay tribute to the incredible journey of thousands of Sisters and lay men and women in seeking to be the face of the God of Mercy in our world.

On March 6, 1857, Mother Ursula Frayne and two Sisters arrived in Melbourne from Fremantle, Western Australia, where they had established a firm Mercy presence after more than a decade since arriving from Ireland. Ursula was the eleventh Sisters of Mercy, who nursed Catherine McAuley in her final illness.

While a seasoned traveller, aspects of the journey to Melbourne were some of the worst experienced by Ursula. Her descriptions of their journey includes the following account –

‘Alas, the winds did not favour us… My face naturally pale, became scarlet. and so swollen that the eyes were hardly visible, and the mouth a mere slit’.

The theme chosen for the anniversary is appropriately ‘Many Roads, One Journey’.

Carole Carmody rsm, a representative of the committee coordinating events for the 160th, said the theme seeks to capture the many paths that we have all trod, but all of us are on one journey of Mercy.

“Like Ursula and her companions, all of us have walked different paths both in a physical, emotional, practical, educational and spiritual sense. Yet we are all part of the one journey of Mercy and the theme seeks to capture the essence of our combined journey both now and over the past 160 years”.

One of the main events to commemorate the 160 years will be a Eucharistic celebration in the Ursula Frayne Chapel, Palmer Street on Monday, March 6. Ursula’s body is interred beneath the Chapel’s Celtic Cross which commemorates her dedication, vision and labours. The Vicar-General for the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monsignor Greg Bennet will preside at the celebration.

This was first published on 27 February 2017 in Just Mercy, the monthly enewsletter of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG).