We should be shining lamps giving light to all around us - Mother M. Catherine McAuley - - Yumi mas stap olsem wanpela lam I sain na givim lait long ol husat I stap klostu
Each congregation of Sisters of Mercy is guided by Constitutions which contain specific directions for their lives, mission and ministry. These rules have been revised over the years but their spirit remains true to the original constitution written by Catherine McAuley in Ireland almost 200 years ago.
Above: The Foundation Community of Saint Anthonyâ€™s in Coolgardie, Western Australia in 1898. The foundress was Mother M. Antonia (centre) from Argentina while the other four sisters came from Victoria, Ireland and South Australia.
â€˜The cincture is of black leather. A Rosary of large black beads with a cross falls from the cincture at the right side.â€™ Original Constitutions, Article 14
The above cincture (belt) belonged to Sister Mary de Paul, the first Australian born postulant to join the Bathurst Convent in New South Wales in 1871.
Left: Sister Mary Frances. The white habit was introduced from the 1950s.
Right: Wooden reading desk with attached seat, which was used in the refectory in the convent at Herberton, Queensland. This convent opened in 1910. The refectory was the room where the sisters ate their meals in common. Generally meals were eaten in silence while one sister sat at the desk and read aloud either from Scripture or other spiritual writings.
A woman wishing to become a Sister of Mercy would enter as a postulant and after a period of probation, received the habit and began her novitiate. Following novitiate she took her vows and became a professed member of the congregation. Left: Mistress of Novicesâ€™ chair from Victoria Square Convent in Perth, Western Australia. The Mistress of Novices sat in this chair at the head of the novicesâ€™ dining table.
Right: Sister Mary Colman seated in the chair during her time as Mistress of Novices. The Mother Superior was elected from the sisters. Voting was done by the following method.
A white bean was put in the voting box to vote in
favour of a candidate; a
black bean to vote against.
Shown below are beans used in Adelaide, South Australia. Also shown is the written record of the election of Mother M. Benignus
Desmond as Mother
Left: Voting box from Grafton, New South Wales.
Above: Miss Annie Ward photographed prior to her entering the convent and again after her profession
Above: Every Congregation had a Register of Professions. This register is from the Convent of Our Lady of Mercy in Broken Hill, New South Wales. It contains information concerning the women who entered this convent together with the dates of their reception, profession and ultimately their death.
Above: Monthly patron and virtue cards stored in an old Monopole Magnums cigar box by the sisters at Gunnedah, New South Wales. At the beginning of each month sisters would select a card to indicate a particular saint to pray to during that month. They also selected another card which indicated a virtue to be practised.
Left: Sister M. Teresa entered the Convent of Mercy in the Melbourne suburb of Rosanna with this small hard leather suitcase.
Left: Profession Candle In the Townsville congregation in Queensland a candle was carried by a postulant at the start of her reception ceremony, which marked the beginning of life as a novice. The candle was used again for the profession of the first and final vows. The sister then kept the candle for the remainder of her life and it was buried with her as a symbol of her faithfulness and commitment. Below: The profession of seven Sisters of Mercy in Bunbury, Western Australia.
Right: Red cedar Prie Dieu made by James Stewart & Co for the new chapel at the Range Convent in Rockhampton, Queensland in 1898.
This particular prie dieu was used for prayer by the superior of the convent.
Above: A detail of the stained glass from the Bunbury Convent donated by Governor Frederick Weld c. 1880s
This thurible, from Goulburn, New South Wales is inscribed on the base â€˜From the Young Ladies of the Boarding School, feast of St Liguori, 1891â€™. It would have been used for ceremonies in the chapel in Goulburn and was obviously given to Sr Ligouri Mooney, one of the founding sisters. Above: The tabernacle veil was hand-painted by Sister Mary Margaret in Winton, Queensland. The convent at Winton had been founded in 1906 by sisters from Townsville. Sisters sewed and decorated items for use at Mass in their chapels.
Left: This surplice was hand-sewn by the Bathurst Sisters in New South Wales for use at ceremonies other than Mass.
The collections of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea include many items that were gifted to sisters on milestone anniversaries, such as their professions. Significant anniversaries of foundations were also celebrated. Below: The 1925 Golden Jubilee celebrations of the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in Singleton, New South Wales
Right: One of five gilt-
framed sketches of Italian
masterpieces at the Convert
of Mercy in Ballarat, Victoria.
Initially one of a set of six,
the sisters could only afford
five at the time of purchase
Left: Monstrance from Bendigo Convent, Victoria
Be ever ready to praise, to encourage, to stimulate, but slow to censure, and still more slow to condemn. We should be shining lamps giving light to all around us - Mother M. Catherine McAuley - Yumi mas stap redi oltaim long apim nem na strongim bel bilong narapela long gutpela toktok yumi mekim long ol; tasol, yumi mas abrusim tok nogud na daunim arapela hariap tumas