The first Sisters of St Joseph sensed the spirit of a new world in a way that has left its mark on the history of Australia and New Zealand.

“The Vision” by Jan Williamson 2016

The Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar emerged from the community which gathered around Julian Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop at Penola in South Australia and began to live according to a rule which Julian wrote in Adelaide in May 1867.

From this beginning, a foundation was made at Perthville NSW on 16 July 1872. Bishop Matthew Quinn changed the character of the Institute in his diocese of Bathurst from one governed by Central Authority as upheld by Rome in 1874 to a diocesan institute.

From Perthville a group of four young women at the invitation of Bishop James Murray came to Lochinvar in the Diocese of Maitland on 2 September 1883. In subsequent years, Sisters have established convents and schools throughout the Diocese of Maitland Newcastle and beyond.

For more detailed Josephite history click here.

Arrival in Merriwa 1885

Our Founders

Founder - Fr Julian

Born in England of Irish parents, Julian came to Tasmania as a lay chaplain to convicts in 1855 with his heart set on the priesthood.

Founder - Mary MacKillop

Mary, the daughter of Scottish parents, was born on 5th January, 1842 in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy in the very early days of colonial Melbourne.

Photos of Fr Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop: © 2023 Trustees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart ABN 33 293 441 659. All rights reserved. No unauthorised reproductions permitted.