August 30, 2010

Archives as 'places of memory'

Our archives, as “places of memory”, are so important for preserving details of the history of the Sisters of Mercy. They provide an insight into significant events and developments both within the Order and in contemporary society more generally. By revealing and exploring actions, beliefs and drives of past Sisters, we may see inspiration and routes to move forward in a changed society.

This extract from the Annals of Harewood Avenue, London, from 1845 recalls the departure from there of the first Sisters to Australia. As we approach September, and 165 years since this annal entry, it is interesting to reflect on what it records. These sisters would of course come to settle in Perth, and from this first settlement, would initiate rapid growth in a relatively new and developing society. However, there is a sense that the task of this Australian foundation was far from easy and of course required huge courage and strength of spirit.

Extracts taken from Annals Book from Blandford Square/Harewood Ave, 1842 – 1986

1845

Sept 10 Six Sisters from St Catherine’s Convent of Our Lady of Mercy, Dublin, arrived here on their way to Australia, to establish our Holy Order in that Country, under the jurisdiction of the Rt Revd Dr Brady, Vicar Apostolic of Western Australia.

Sept 16 The Sisters, having joined with the Bishop and Community in reciting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, imploring her powerful protection during their perilous voyage, took their departure for Gravesend, and sailed the same evening for the scene of their arduous mission.

Messages to Jenny Smith - Archivist, Union of the Sisters of Mercy

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