The Sisters of the Good Samaritan welcomed members of their community to a liturgy marking the blessing and opening of renovations to St Scholastica’s Congregational Centre in Sydney.
The Sisters hope the space will be a place of gathering, learning, conversation and hospitality.
The blessing and opening took place on February 2 – the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and the 166th anniversary of the foundation of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.
Housed in historic Toxteth House in the inner-western suburb of Glebe, the renovations will bring fresh life to a building that has been home to many people and served many purposes since it was built in 1831.
Congregational Leader Sr Patty Fawkner said the site on which Toxteth House stands had always been a sacred space, from the time when the traditional custodians, the Gadigal people, shared their Dreamtime stories.
“Toxteth House is a building that has always looked to the future, not the past,” Sr Patty said. “For nearly 200 years, it has been primarily a place of hospitality. We wish to continue this tradition of hospitality, which is intrinsic to Benedictine life.”
A feature of the centre is a series of five etchings, which were commissioned by artist Terry St Ledger. Titled “The Ministerial Women”, the images depict Mary of Magdala, apostle to the Apostles; Phoebe, deacon (as named by St Paul); St Frances of Rome, a Benedictine oblate; Martha Sarahes, a Good Samaritan Sister and Pacifican; and St Josephine Bakhita, seeker of freedom.
Renovated Congregational Centre looks to the future while honouring the past (Sisters of the Good Samaritan)
Renovated centre looks to the future while honouring the past (The Good Oil)