Sixteen Sisters of Saint Joseph from across the Congregation have last month 8 January celebrated their Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years since their first profession.
Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, welcomed the Jubilarians, Sisters and guests at Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel in North Sydney.
The Sisters travelled from across Australia to acknowledge their religious life journeys and ministries in education and social justice, nursing, pastoral care, religious leadership, and working with First Nations communities in the Kimberley and Peru.
“We express our appreciation to these Josephite women who 50 years ago embarked on a journey which would take them into situations they possibly had never dreamed about on their first profession day,” says Sr Monica.
“Like St Joseph our patron, these Sisters took risks, often journeying to unfamiliar places of mission and beyond borders to serve the most vulnerable people in our world. As young religious, and in the words of Pope Francis, they bought a pair of walking shoes and set out on uncharted paths.”
Fr Ignatius Vu and Fr Brian Vale, as chief celebrants, congratulated the Jubilarians on their vowed commitment. The Sisters were invited to renew their vows and their renewed commitment was met with applause from the Congregation.
“I feel very privileged to be a Sister of Saint Joseph for 50 years” says Sr Colleen O’Dwyer.
“I was taught by the Sisters in a small country town in Victoria. Some years later I returned to that same school as a teacher. The Sisters inspired me greatly and during those years the spirit of Mary MacKillop was being nurtured in me.
“For the last 50 years I have ministered as a teacher in many schools across Victoria as well as our other works as Director of Mission at MacKillop Family Services.
“I have also been involved in aged care. In 2022 I retired from coordinating the Mary MacKillop Colloquiums at the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre in Melbourne.”
“After leaving a Josephite secondary school I worked for some years before joining the Sisters of Saint Joseph,” said Perth-based Sr Pauline Dundon.
“The education I received and the Sisters who taught me inspired me to join the Congregation.
“As a Sister myself I have worked as a teacher then I was offered the opportunity to be part of a parish community. Currently I am a coordinator for catechists in the Diocese of Western Australia.”
Encouraged and supported by God’s unconditional love, the Jubilarians continue in the foots co-founders of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, St Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods.