Women-very hopeful, not easily disheartened : The History of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in Queensland 1870-1970

Margaret Mckenna (2008). Women-very hopeful, not easily disheartened : The History of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in Queensland 1870-1970 PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Margaret Mckenna
Thesis Title Women-very hopeful, not easily disheartened : The History of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in Queensland 1870-1970
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2008-12
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Sarah Ferber
Dr Marion Diamond
Total pages 177
Total colour pages 3
Total black and white pages 174
Language eng
Subjects 440000 Philosophy and Religion
L
Abstract/Summary Abstract In 1995 the Prime Minister of Australia, the honourable Paul Keating, on the occasion of the Beatification of Mary MacKillop, January 1995, claimed that 'Women have been a defining force in our [Australian] economic and social development and our national character...In honouring Mary MacKillop [Pope John Paul II] has honoured all Australian women. Keating went on to point out that Mary MacKillop's 'sympathies were with the underdogs of society, the people on the margins' and that she 'created the congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph to spread and maintain her vision'. This thesis explores the evolution of the vision and values of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and its contribution to Catholic education in Queensland during the years 1870 to 1970. During this period the institute gained official recognition within the Catholic Church, established an innovative vision and method of Catholic education for the working class and clarified for its memebers the style of spirituality that was to underpin their lives. The main contention of the thesis is that this Australian institute of women religious can claim a place not only in religious history but also in the secular history of Australia. The influence of the Josephites can be found in community history, education history and the history of women, but as Keating stated: 'Their contribution has not always been acknowledged'. The Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart,one of the first institutes of women religious founded in Australia, was invited to Queensland in 1869 by Bishop James Quinn, the first Catholic bishop of Brisbane. At the time of the foundation of the institute in 1866, there was growing support within Australia for liberal democracy and state-controlled, general secular education. The founders of the institute, Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods fashioned the Josephites to meet the Catholic educational needs of the working class in the rural townships and in the poorer sections of the cities. In the parish schools the Sisters of St Joseph offered the children an education that gave a priority to the practical, sought to situate the subject matter within an Australian context and integrated the religious and the secular. The egalitarianism that they fostered in the organisation of their schools had become by 1920, the model for the organisation of the Catholic parish schools in Queensland. When the government withdrew its support for some Catholic parish schools in the colony during the 1870s, the Sisters of St Joseph, supported by the generosity of the laity, proved that it was possible for these schools to continue. By 1970 the Josephites had opened 69 Catholic parish schools in the state. This thesis is the first to use the many archival documents in a research that covers the period 1870 to 1970 in the history of the Sisters of St Joseph in Queensland. Historians have attempted to throw light on the tangle of issues that influenced the dramatic event, the total withdrawal of the Sisters of St Joseph from Queensland after ten years of productive ministry during the period 1870-1880, but no study has been made into the subsequent history of the institute in Queensland. In the period under discussion women were beginning to claim a place of equality in society. Mary MacKillop, in her manner of claiming the rights of the Josephites, offered a role model to the women in the institute she founded. In turn the Sisters of St Joseph showed other women the effectiveness of collaborative effort. The history of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph in Queensland shows the strengths and weaknesses of this community of women, described by MacKillop as 'courageous, cheerful, very hopeful and not easily disheartened', as they endeavoured to espouse her vision and values in their lifestyle and apostolate.
Keyword Religious Institutes, religious institutes, women
Catholic Church, education, Catholic Education
Catholic schools -- Queensland -- History
Additional Notes Colour pages -168,169,170

 
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