History in Maitland-Newcastle Diocese

On 31 August 1875, 10 Sisters arrived in Singleton after accepting the invitation of Bishop James Murray of the Diocese of Maitland, and commenced their works of mercy — education, care of orphans, and visitation of the sick and elderly. Convents of Sisters of Mercy began to spread throughout the Hunter Valley. They were known for their work in schools, hospitals, orphanages, and later for their missionary endeavours abroad.

Following are some words from a transcript of an account of the foundation and expansion of the Sisters of Mercy, Singleton, written in 1893 by the Foundress, Mother Mary Stanislaus (Mary Anne Kenny). This has been sourced from an old discoloured manuscript in St Mary’s Cathedral Archives in Sydney.

In the year 1874 Most Revd Dr Murray Lord Bishop of Maitland in NSW employed M. R. Dr Quinn of Bathurst who was then travelling through Ireland to seek out for him a Foundress of Srs of Mercy to help in the labours of his vast Diocese.

His call was warmly responded to in Ennis & on the 29th June 1875 there set out from that a Community seven professed Nuns & three postulants for the Diocese of Maitland… Suffice it to say – the Bp of Maitland did not bring Nuns into his Diocese & leave them to ‘sink or swim’. He watched over them with fatherly care. He never let them know what it is to want in a strange land.

The grain of mustard seed has now increased from ten to seventy. In the Diocese of Maitland are nine Branches. Murrurundi, Scone, Muswellbrook, Branxton, East Maitland, Morpeth, Raymond Terrace, Lambton & Hamilton … The present work of the Sisters of Mercy in the Maitland Diocese consists in teaching 15 Primary Schools & 8 High Schools …

Catherine McAuley Catholic College, Medowie continues a tradition of excellence in Catholic education in the Mercy tradition in our Diocese.

  1. St Columba’s Primary School, Adamstown – Sisters of Mercy – 1890
  2. Rosary Park Catholic School, Branxton – Sisters of Mercy – 1886
  3. St Kevin’s Primary School, Cardiff – originally Josephites – Sr Judith Murphy RSM
  4. St Joseph’s Primary School, East Maitland – Sisters of Mercy
  5. Holy Cross Primary School, Glendale – 2011 – revisited Mercy heritage
  6. St Joseph’s Primary School, Kilaben Bay – Sisters of Mercy – 1956 – Josephites – 1973
  7. St James’ Primary School, Kotara South – Sisters of Mercy
  8. St John’s Primary School, Lambton – Sisters of Mercy
  9. St James’ Primary School, Muswellbrook – Sisters of Mercy 1883 – 1972 Josephites – 1973-1991
  10. St Michael’s Primary School, Nelson Bay – Sisters of Mercy
  11. St Therese’s Primary School, New Lambton – Sisters of Mercy
  12. St Brigid’s Primary School, Raymond Terrace – Sisters of Mercy
  13. St Paul’s Primary School, Rutherford – Sisters of Mercy
  14. St Mary’s Primary School, Scone – Sisters of Mercy
  15. St Catherine’s Catholic College, Singleton – Sisters of Mercy
  16. St Patrick’s Primary School, Wallsend – Sisters of Mercy