Father Woods remembered in Brisbane
On a recent trip to Brisbane Sr Jan Tranter rsj visited the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at their home, Villa Maria in Fortitude Valley. These Sisters, like the Sisters of St Joseph, were co-founded by Father Julian Tenison Woods. It was with Catherine Gaffney (Mother Mary Stanislaus) as co-founder that the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration began their ministry in 1874. The Sisters gathered on Saturday, 7th October for a celebratory meal and prayer as that date has significance for both congregations, being the anniversary of the death of Father Julian.
A bright gold and white floral arrangement sent from Sr Monica Cavanagh and the Josephite Leadership Team graced the entrance to the dining room. The carefully set tables, each with simple gold floral centrepieces and decor suggesting Fr Julian's expertise in shells added to the warmth and welcome. There was much happy sharing.
The Sisters welcomed Fr Julian's grand-nephew, Jack Tenison Woods and his daughter, Judi to Villa Maria. Jack is a son of Julian Tenison Woods whose father was Terry, the brother of Father Julian. Jack's father remembered attending Fr Julian's funeral as a young boy. Jack, now ninety-two, remains alert with his spirit of independence and humour still intact. Many stories were told. Jack and Judi recalled their visits to Villa Maria, especially at Christmas time.
They loved their visit to the large, older chapel where they remembered always seeing a Sister kneeling at the front, before the Blessed Sacrament. They also love the new chapel, with its striking architecture and art.
Jack’s family were found by the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration when a Lochinvar ex-student in the 1960s told Mother Mary Pauline, the Congregational Leader at the time that there was a Tenison Woods family in Brisbane. Soon after, Jack said he had a phone call from Sr Dympna RPA making enquiries. As Jack said, “The rest is history'’. The bonds with Jack's father, Julian and the family grew. When Julian died in 1969, his funeral took place in the Villa Maria Chapel.
Jack recalled that his father had Fr O'Neill's book on Fr Julian and gave it to him to read as a youth, so he knew about the Sisters. He also remembered the welcome he and his wife received when they visited Lochinvar in 1974 when driving south. There was mutual joy at the meeting of the Woods family and the Sisters, the joy of shared belonging.