Our home is the present moment. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh
The Goulburn Congregation is based in the southern tablelands region of New South Wales. It is located some two hours south of Sydney and an hours north of Canberra.
On 13 August 1882, a few months before the withdrawal of all government monies to denominational schools, five Sisters of St Joseph arrived from Perthville to staff the Catholic school at North Goulburn: Sisters Evangelist Duggan, Ignatius O’Brien, Teresa Fallon, Joseph Cahill, and Patrick Murphy. Bishop Lanigan blessed the foundation stone of the Sacred Heart Convent, North Goulburn on Sunday 3 September 1882. The new Convent was blessed and opened by Bishop Lanigan on 6 May 1883. The increase in the number of Sisters in the 1880s necessitated the building of extensions to the original convent and Bishop Lanigan blessed the new oratory in June 1889.
In July 1883, Sr M Lawrence (Annie Cooney) of Ennis, County Clare became the first postulant of the new congregation. In December 1883 Srs M Brigid (Joanna Maher), M Columba (Alice Maher and M. Angela (Mary Maher) all from Cashel, County Tipperary, joined the Congregation. In February 1884 the first Australian postulant entered the Congregation, Sister M Hyacinth (Elizabeth McDonald), born in Myrtleford, Victoria.
As the numbers in our Congregation increased branch houses were established. The first foundation was in 1884 at Adelong. This was followed by foundations in Taralga (1884), Temora (1887), Tumbarumba 1887 and other places throughout the rural areas of NSW as well as Canberra, Sydney and Batehaven. The great contribution of our Sisters especially through these early years and to the late 1900s was in education (primary and secondary) and the teaching of music.
Today 65 Sisters continue to live in these areas offering a ministry of “prayer, presence and service”. In the spirit of Fr Julian Woods and Mary MacKillop we seek to walk with people “in the ordinariness of their everyday lives” and strive to live as Gospel women for the mission of Jesus.