Celebrating 130 years of compassionate care

This year marks the 130th Anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary in Australia, on 4 November 1885.

In 1885 at the invitation of Cardinal Moran, six Sisters of the Little Company of Mary sailed from Naples on the SS Liguria headed for Australia. The Sisters were:

  • Mother Raphael Byrne Farrar, aged 29
  • Mother Rose Mowles, aged 31.
  • Sister Josephine Wroughton, aged 29
  • Sister Pierre Dillon, aged 28
  • Sister Pius Kelly, aged 36 and
  • Sister Brigid Rosser, aged 20

The harsh conditions they encountered upon their arrival did not deter the Sisters and they immediately became involved in caring for the sick, poor and the dying again, undertaking home nursing and opening a soup kitchen in inner Sydney. In the picture above, note that they have already attracted two novices to the the Congregation.

Back Row: Sisters Francis Scanlon (Novice), Pierre Dillon, Pius Kelly, Josephine Wroughton and Clare Halpin (Novice)

Front Row: Mother Rose Mowles, Mother Raphael Byrne Farrar and Sister Brigid Rosser

The Australian Foundation Sisters were very young to undertake their first international mission. However, by 1886 the foundation stone for the first Australian convent, known as the Convent of the Maternal Heart was laid at Lewisham. This was remarkable progress within only two years of their arrival in Australia.

In 1888, the foundation stone was laid for what was to become known as Lewisham Hospital. Operating as both a public and private hospital in Sydney’s inner west for more than 100 years, Lewisham was also the site of the religious formation house for Little Company of Mary Sisters, both in New Zealand and Australia.

For 130 years, the Sisters and those working with them, including all of us, have built up a respected reputation in Australia for the provision of high quality, values-based health, community and aged care.

Little Company of Mary Health Care Limited sends greetings and congratulations to all the LCM Sisters in Australia.