Good Samaritan Sisters
In 1890 a Good Samaritan community was established in Port Pirie – 1000 miles by train from the mother house at St Scholastica’s, Glebe Point in Sydney and the first foundation beyond the borders of New South Wales.
The pioneer community consisted of the superior, M M Gertrude Brennan, Sr M Dominic Foster in charge of the primary school, assisted by Sr Clotilda O’Neill and two experienced lay teachers, the Misses Freeman who were sisters. Sister Euphrasia O’Sullivan was the music teacher. Sr Gabriel Robinson was in charge of the High School assisted by Sr Barbara Furber and a Miss McCarron, a music, drama and singing teacher. Lay teachers and domestic staff came from Sydney with the sisters.
The convent in Gertrude Street was blessed and opened on 23 May 1890 and the sisters lived there until 1988 when they moved to The Terrace which continues to be the centre of Good Samaritan presence to this day (2017).
Within a matter of days after their arrival, records tell us the sisters and lay colleagues “were teaching over one hundred children and enduring the intense heat.”
In time, schools – primary, secondary and boarding – were established at Gertrude Street, Solomontown, Crystal Brook and Risdon Park and later an orphanage at Crystal Brook (1960 – 1979). Summer Vacation Schools were conducted at Minnipa, Hawker, Leigh Creek, Cook, Tarcoola and Woomera.
In 1942 the sisters set up a community in Whyalla to teach at the newly built St Teresa’s School, living in the Convent behind the School. As Whyalla’s population expanded they also taught at St Francis Xavier’s School and eventually at Our Lady Help of Christian’s School and St John’s College. In 1945 the sisters were asked to extend their mission work to Iron Knob and to Kimba.
Alongside a teaching role, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan have always undertaken a pastoral role in the parish. This was especially true in Whyalla Stuart where sisters served as Pastoral Associates and members of the parish team from 1974 until they were farewelled from the parish at the end of 2013.
Over the years more than 300 Good Samaritans have been on mission in the diocese of Port Pirie.
St Anne Sisters
The Society of Saint Anne, Madras (SSAM)
Sr Delma Gnanaprakasam
Sr Sheela Thomas
Sr Elizabeth Royan
The Most Rev Bishop Gregory O’Kelly SJ, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Port Pirie, invited the Congregation of Society of Sisters of St Anne, Madras, India, specifically to work for the welfare of the Aboriginal community. The Sisters of St Anne responded to the invitation and Sr Delma and Sr Kaspar arrived in Port Augusta on 21 October 2014. Since then they have been learning and meeting the needs of the Aboriginal community in and around Port Augusta.
For the first year they worked in Centacare Catholic Family Services Country SA. They made frequent visits to the Davenport community and observed and tried to understand the real needs of this community. It took a long time for the people to accept the Sisters into their community. They asked so many questions like ‘Who are you? Where do you come from? Why do you want to visit?’ etc.. . It was really hard for them, especially coping with the dogs who don’t allow strangers in their territory. But these Sisters overcame all of these challenges and hoped for the best. While they were building rapport with the people and slowly motivated mothers to form as a group, they felt the need to concentrate on the children first, since they were to be the future. The Sisters’ passion to protect children from dysfunctional families and community threats, and to pave the way for children to have their childhood needs fulfilled, at least to the minimum levels, resulted in the formation of the Honey Ants Children’s Club; then the Women’s Group. These groups aimed to help address some of the social and educational needs of the community. Since then they have been functioning well.
Every Wednesday the Sisters visit and interact with the residents of Wami Kata. They have Art and Craft projects with the able-bodied residents. They have made Christmas cards, flower vases, key chains, jewelry, beads, etc. They conduct a prayer service every 1st and 3rd Friday and special services during Christmas and Easter when they also distribute gifts and cards. On birthdays they wish residents a happy birthday and pray for them. They also provide religious articles (chains, crosses and rosary beads) for residents who ask for them.
The Managing Committee of Wami Kata invited them to their Christmas parties the past two years and gave them presents. They feel their presence at Wami Kata is really appreciated and this encourages them to do their best for them.
Sisters Delma and Kaspar are involved in Prison Ministry at Port Augusta. They feel it’s a very great privilege to journey with the inmates at a very traumatic time in their lives and hope it may lead to their transformation. Their Prison Ministry includes some activities such as, Eucharistic celebrations, prayer services, and RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Through this ministry, they bring their own personal gifts and qualities and bring God’s love into the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalized people. They’ve heard stories of pain and disappointments. They want to know God and see God at work in their lives. Sometimes the sharing and reflections of the inmates inspire the Sisters. The faith of those people is deep and the Sisters learn much from them.
The Sisters also conduct recreational activities with the elderly prisoners at AIU, Port Augusta.
The Women’s Group is essentially formed to create an atmosphere where every woman in the community has the opportunity to YARN, PLAN, LEARN and EARN. It is conducted every Tuesday between 1:00pm to 3:30pm at the Women’s Shed, Davenport. Nearly six to ten women participate in the activities. The women have different educational and skill training sessions such as: Tree of Life activities, talks on diabetes, kidneys, re-think your drink, healthy eating, budgeting, domestic violence, and dementia among Aboriginal communities. They also do: Drumming, cooking, Food REDi, Seasons of Growth, self-esteem, depression, knitting, bracelet making, card making, etc. The resources were provided from some of the NGO’s in Port Augusta as well as individual volunteers. The International Women’s Day of 8th March 2016 was the first great celebration they organized in the community. It was a memorable experience and touched many hearts particularly those of the participating women. It also motivated them to learn more skills for their way of living. As a community, they commenced their own small business to inculcate the nature of learning and earning. Some of the business ventures are: Dot paintings, bracelet making for NAIDOC week and making Christmas cards. The women have agreed to take 50% of the income as their wages, which in turn, will encourage them to work harder as well as inspire other women to participate. The other 50% of the income goes to the group to buy resources for their future projects. Sincere thanks to the Port Augusta community, especially the various church communities for encouraging and supporting these projects.
The Sisters visit Willsden Primary School on Tuesdays and Carlton Primary School on Fridays for the Well-Being sessions, where children learn about Kimochis (feelings). Kimochis is a playful way to help children learn how to identify and express their feelings. When kids can voice their feelings effectively, they develop positive social skills that lead to lasting friendships and success in all aspects of life. These Well-Being sessions help to improve the well-being of the children. The Sisters also provide services for the most vulnerable ones. These sessions promote opportunities for children to use their own strengths and expertise to enable them to become responsible and achieve positive change.
Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH)
Sr Patricia Hogan
Sr Anne Higgins
Our Congregation was founded by Fr Jules Chevalier MSC in Issoudun , France. He was inspired with the vision of being a missionary of Christ’s love to all people and saw a need for this as part of God’s mission for our world. The first OLSH Sisters arrived in the diocese in January 1995.
On 8th December 1854, the day the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed he received a donation that enabled his to begin his missionary dream and founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. In thanksgiving he always wanted to honour Mary in a special way. So we now have the beautiful title “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart” which celebrates the love relationship of Jesus for Mary and Mary for Jesus. Mary was the first missionary of God’s love, and our founder’s desire is for us to be “Daughters” of Mary to be sent through the power of the Spirit to continue Christ’s mission by sharing the joys and the hopes, the griefs and anxieties of all people in our time. The sisters are involved in a great variety of ministries in 28 countries that totally encompass through the Church God’s mission of love for all people.
In the early 1990’s Bishop de Campo wrote to many congregations asking for sisters for Roxby Downs as the catholic residents had requested a Church presence. In 1994 our sisters answered this call and arrived in Woomera in January 1995 to be with the people in Woomera, Roxby Downs and Andamooka .
At first the sisters lived in a flat in Woomera until a house was transported from Adelaide to Roxby Downs in Pioneer Drive. The first sisters occupied the house on 4th August and Bishop de Campo, with Fr John Watherson blessed it 17th September. To make way for St Barbara’s School the house was moved to Gregory Street in April 2000.