In celebrating our 150th Anniversary, we highlight in the Newsletter moments from our history.
In January 1869 upon arriving in Melbourne, Ambrose Treacy had written to Superior General Hoare expressing the need in Melbourne at that time and the volume of work being undertaken by not just the Christian Brothers but by other Catholic orders such as the Mercy Sisters and Jesuits. All of the building and community work was being built on the generosity of the people, not from church finances and he described the population and “pretty well plucked”.
Sr Ursula Frayne herself a wonderful leader in her time wrote to the Superior General in 1871 asking for support with the Orphans whom the Mercy Sisters had been caring for since 1861. These letters showed that in a short period of time the people in Melbourne had no end to their generosity in supporting the Catholic community at work in building structures to support the marginalised and members in most need. It is fundamental to our faith as Catholics and as a school in the Edmund Rice tradition that we do not forget our history and remain focussed on generosity and care of the members of our Parade community in the greatest need.
A letter from Sr Ursula Frayne, Superioress of the Mercy Sisters, to the Superior General, James A Hoare
[Friday] August 11, 1871
Very Reverend Si
Through our kind friend Reverend Father [Joseph] Lentaigne, SJ, I make an appeal on behalf of the Melbourne Catholic Boys’ Orphanage for a few members of your valuable Institute to take charge thereof. And, although just now in Retreat, I cannot allow the outgoing English mail to leave without a line direct.
May I hope [page 2] that you will see fit to grant my earnest request? The orphan boys number one hundred and seventy – their house is newly built, large and commodious – and we are most anxious to see placed over them a community of Christian Brothers – that they might be properly trained and that the Institution might be guarded from the danger of falling into careless hands in the future.
We have [page 3] had the charge of both boys and girls since 1861 – but the number of orphans, having increased from eighty seven to over three hundred, we find the Girls’ Orphanage, separated from the other building by a street, quite as much as we can attend to, with all our other duties. Our good Bishop encourages me to make this appeal, feeling, as I do, that we are not the proper persons to train boys.
In full confidence that you will give favourable [page 4] attention to my earnest prayer, .
I am, Very Reverend Sir
Yours sincerely and respectfully in Christ
M Ursula Frayne ,Superioress, Sisters of Mercy,