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Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:22

Final Federation gathering for sisters

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A group of leaders from the Josephite Foundations in Perthville, Whanganui, Goulburn, Lochinvar and Westbury (Tasmania) formed the Federation of the five Diocesan groups in 1967. All these groups had originated from the Perthville Foundation, which, in turn, had been founded by St Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods from Adelaide. As each Diocesan foundation was made, each group remained isolated from the other - until the formation of the Federation 46 years ago.

The two-day event was highlighted by the gathering of many sisters from the various groups, the renewal of friendships and the sharing of prayer and memories. The sisters came together in a spirit of reunion and celebration. Sisters June Cleary, Val Burns, Paulinus and Francesca shared stories from the beginnings of Federation. Others highlighted significant events which had occurred over the 46 years. Carmel Moore spoke about the writing of the Constitutions, Maureen Salmon on the shared Novitiate, Yvonne Munro and others on the Papua/New Guinea mission, Christina Morrissey on the combined House of Studies at Lyneham, May O’Dea on the gatherings for the Beatification of Mary MacKillop, Jean Cain on her ministry as Executive Officer and Ruth Long on the significance of the commitment to Penola and the historians who did so much to record the heritage of the Sisters.

There was also a ritual of farewell to the Sisters of Whanganui, Goulburn and Tasmania who have recently opted to fuse with the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. Perthville and Lochinvar are the only two groups now remaining in the Federation. At the meeting of the leaders of these two groups, it was decided to continue in Federation for the immediate future. Despite the dispersal of the Federation, it is intended that close links will be maintained with members of the original five groups.

This article was originally published in the May 2013 edition of the Catholic Observer.