The Missionary Sisters of Service have marked the order’s 75th anniversary with the launch of a commemorative cookbook, Food for the Highways and Byways.
“We are celebrating 75 years of story, of history and of being immersed in people’s lives right across this nation,” said Sr Stancea Vichie, the Missionary Sisters of Service's congregational leader, at the launch of the cookbook in Toolangi in rural Victoria on Sunday.
About 85 guests joined the Sisters at the launch of the cookbook, which includes recipes, stories, prayers, photographs and a map of where the Sisters lived and worked across Australia.
“It’s been an extraordinary journey over the last 75 years and you’ll actually get a sense of it from within the pages of the cookbook. Immersed in that cookbook are the lives of so many people from around this country and beyond," Sr Stancea said.
“We’re wanting to celebrate all the people we’ve ever been with in those 75 years, wherever they’ve been. That journey has taken us into the lives of people no matter what their background, their religion, their race and creed."
Throughout 2019 a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary are scheduled across the four states – Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia – where the 26 Sisters live.
The Victorian cookbook launch was particularly significant for the MSS given its location.
“We are gathered together in this beautiful countryside setting, which is very much in the spirit of the Missionary Sisters of Service, of going out into the highways and byways,” Sr Stancea said. “And not far from here, just up the road outside Yea is a property called Wirrabong where John Wallis was born.”
Fr John Wallis founded the Missionary Sisters of Service. Following his ordination, he set out to visit isolated Catholic families living on Bruny Island, located off the east coast of Tasmania. In that first visit he met a young mother of four, Kit Hawkins, who asked him, “Father, why can’t we have Sisters coming here like they do in the towns and the cities? Doesn’t anyone care about our children?”
Eleven years later, on 8 July, 1944, thanks to the vision, prayer and effort of Fr Wallis, the first women of the Missionary Sisters of Service came together.
Commemorative cookbook launched in Victoria (Missionary Sisters of Service)