The All Hallows' Convent Magnolia, embroidery on silk, by Sr Jeanette Collis

Celebrating Foundation Day

Today, Congregation Leader Sr Catherine Reuter reflects on the meaning of Foundation Day for the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation:

On 13 May 1861, Mother Mary Vincent Whitty wrote to Reverend Mother, Baggot Street:

Here we are at long last landed in poor Brisbane, after our long but not unpleasant voyage, and delays in quarantine, Melbourne, Sydney etc. We landed on the 10th about 10 o’clock at night … We were first brought to the Church which was beautifully lighted up and a number of poor people came in also … we went to the priests’ house and had cake and wine and then proceeded to our Convent, or rather house, with 6 good rooms in its. It was however quite unfurnished.

She continues with a list of the treasures found in the unpacking, reflections and plans for schooling needs and models of education, a request for more Sisters, a recount of two sicks calls, reminisces of the Sisters’ stay in Sydney at the Benedictine Convent and naming the season of the year:

This is the Winter Season of the year or rather Autumn—January, is our hottest month, and hot enough it will be, but a young lady who has lived here for years says it is not unpleasantly warm on account of the cool breeze from the River.

The Sisters are all very well, thanks be to God. Do not fear our having support. God will provide enough.

Foundation for the Sisters of Mercy, Brisbane Congregation occurred on Friday 10 May 1861 within the season of Eastertide. With Mary Vincent Whitty’s mention of autumn comes a spiritual awareness for her that ‘poor Brisbane’ is the ‘arena where [her] life and the life of Jesus intersect[ed]’ (Chittister 2009).

May Foundation Day 2017 simply not be an event but a rich experience of the season of Easter in which our lives and the life of Jesus intersect.

Continued blessings in Mercy.

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