Mother Mary Frances Aikenhead was born in Cork, Ireland on January 19th, 1787. She was a sickly child due to the damp port her wealthy Protestant family lived in the vicinity of. To aid her poor health, she was fostered out to a poor Catholic family who lived further inland. The family Mary lived with, also provided a source of spiritual support and while with them, she saw the many injustices that plagued a poverty-stricken, religiously divided Ireland. Her father converted to Catholicism on his death bed and she soon followed, a year after his death. When she grew up, she demonstrated a strong commitment to making a difference where possible: in hospitals, prisons, schools and factories. Mary Aikenhead’s God-inspired dream was to respond to the needs of the people of her time, especially the poorest. She worked for this to become a reality by founding the Religious Sisters of Charity. It is for this reason that the Sisters of Charity adopted a fourth vow of ‘service to the poor’. This later continued when she sent five volunteers to lead the way for the Sisters of Charity in Australia, arriving on 31st December, 1838. These sisters began a long-standing tradition of love and service that has left a lasting footprint on the history of the Catholic Church in Australia. Mary Aikenhead died on July 22nd, 1858 in Dublin.
Aikenhead House is associated with the value of love because Mary’s love was her driving force and the reason she worked so hard to restore dignity to the poor. This house is red, representative of the deep love that Mary had for all people, regardless of their life circumstances.
Mary, the Mother of God, was the Immaculate Conception, born without original sin on her soul in order that she might be pure enough to be the bearer of God on earth in the person of Jesus. She was a mere child when the Angel Gabriel approached her, asking her to be the mother of God’s son. Despite all of her fear, she responded with a resounding “Yes”. She gave birth in unusual circumstances: in a stable, placed her newborn son in an animal’s feeding trough and wrapped him in rags. She raised Jesus with her husband, Joseph to be a man of courage, humility, conviction and faith. She was gentle, loving, patient and kind yet she was also unequivocally strong as she stood by the cross, watching her son take his last breath. Despite her suffering, her unwavering faith saw her return to her King. After her natural life, she was taken (assumed) into heaven where she was crowned the Queen of Heaven. She is the perfect example of how to live and love in faith.
Marian House is associated with the value of faith because Mary’s was the perfect example of faith in this world, she served God right to the end. The colour blue is representative of peace, stability, trust and loyalty, all found in Mary’s character.
Mary is so closely united to Jesus because she received from him the knowledge of the heart, the knowledge of faith, nourished by her experience as a mother and by her close relationship with her Son. The Blessed Virgin is the woman of faith who made room for God in her heart and in her plans; she is the believer capable of perceiving in the gift of her Son the coming of that “fullness of time”(Gal 4:4) in which God, by choosing the humble path of human existence, entered personally into the history of salvation. That is why Jesus cannot be understood without his Mother.
Pope Francis 2015
Patrick House is named after St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. St. Patrick was born in Scotland, c. 385-390 and died in Ireland c. 461. St Patrick was captured by pirates at the age of 16 and was taken to Ireland as a a slave for six years. He became familiar with the pastoral countryside of Ireland as he tended to his master’s sheep. This is where he gained a deep spiritual connection with the land and God’s role as creator. He later escaped, returned home and trained to be a priest and bishop. He felt a strong desire to help those in Ireland come to know and love Christ as he had learnt to do. He taught the Celts in Ireland about the Holy Trinity through the use of a common shamrock and converted many to Christianity. The ‘Breastplate’ or ‘Lorica’ is attributed to St Patrick. This prayer focuses on the beauty of God’s creation and recognising Christ’s presence in all of creation. After his death, the people named him a saint because of his great works in evangelising the Irish. St Patrick is the most well-known saint to Roman Catholics worldwide. He bestowed upon the Irish a great name and a great spiritual legacy which later inspired the Patrician Brothers in their work to see Christ in all hearts.
Patrick House is associated with the value of integrity because St Patrick was a man of great integrity. After escaping slavery, the Lord called him to return and he responded without hesitation to bring Christ to the Celts. Green is representative of creation, of Ireland and of the spiritual wealth that Patrick instilled in the people of Ireland.
Delany House is named after Bishop Daniel Delany, the founder of the Patrician Brothers. Daniel Delany was born in Paddock, Ireland in 1747. Daniel felt a calling to the priesthood, although at this time in Ireland, Catholicism was outlawed. He was smuggled to France where he trained as a priest and a Bishop and returned to his home country to find the situation had only worsened. He discovered a strong desire to assist the very poorest of the poor to obtain at least a very basic education. He was aided by a number of generous men and women who helped him establish schools. He later created the Sisters of St Brigid in 1807 and the following year, the Brothers of St Patrick. In 1883, four Patrician Brothers were sent to Australia to establish schools and awaken many hearts to the love of Christ. The conditions were harsh and difficult for these men but they and the many that have followed them have helped to build a community that is humble, gentle and focused on the love of Christ. Bishop Daniel Delany died in 1814 and was buried in Tullow.
Delany House is associated with the value of justice because he fought to counteract the cycle of poverty and prejudice that plagued Catholics in Ireland. The colour yellow represents light, happiness and optimism all of qualities Delany brought to many downtrodden Catholics in Ireland. This same damaging relationship between Catholics and Protestants followed many convicts to Australia and the Patrician Brothers were a beacon of light and hope for the Catholics here, faithfully carrying on Delany’s work.
John Joseph Therry was born in Cork, Ireland in 1790. He was educated privately at St Patrick’s College, Carlow. Ordained a priest in 1815, he was assigned to parish work in Dublin and then Cork. Together with Fr Conolly, he arrived in Sydney in May, 1820. From 1821 – 1826 he was the only Catholic Priest on mainland Australia. Simple and unselfish, a firm democrat and a zealous priest, Therry was a man of large notions and considerable achievement, including the dream of a Catholic Church in Sydney, to this end, in 1821, a year after his arrival, the foundation stone of the first St Mary’s Chapel was laid by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and blessed by Fr Therry. Therry was concerned with the poor and oppressed and would often travel great distances to attend to the pastoral needs of Catholics and provide access to the sacraments. His regular route saw him travel from Campbelltown, to Liverpool, Parramatta and Sydney. He was instrumental in founding schools and acquiring land on which to build churches. Fr John Therry also played a role in the beginnings of a primary school in Liverpool, hence his importance to the All Saints community. He died on 25 May 1864 aged 73 and is buried in the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral.
Therry House is associated with the value of truth because Fr John Therry felt a strong compulsion to be a relentless advocate for the Catholic population in the colony. He revealed the truth of God’s love despite great opposition, reminiscent of the disciples’ message to the early Christians. Purple represents creativity, wisdom, spiritual fulfilment and insight – all positive qualities that Fr Therry possessed.