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New South Wales - Organisation

Sisters of Charity of Australia (1815 - )

Care Provider, Catholic and Religious Order

The Sisters of Charity were founded by Mary Aikenhead in Dublin Ireland in 1815. Mary Aikenhead's dream was to work with the poor, and in addition to vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, members of the institute take a fourth vow of service to the poor. In 1834, Dr John Polding, then Vicar-Apostolic of New Holland and later Archbishop of Sydney, requested from Mother Mary Aikenhead a community of Sisters to care for the convicts at the Female Factory in Parramatta, the children at the Parramatta Orphan School, and other poor people in the colony. In 1838, five Sisters were selected to take part in the Australian mission. These five pioneers left Ireland in August 1838, arriving in Sydney on 31 December of that year. The Sisters of Charity were the first Religious Institute of women to arrive in Australia.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998,

Prepared by: Melissa Downing