'Twelve Came First' — a new book about the arrival of the FCJ sisters in Australia
by Sister Aileen Ryan fcJ
Some 127 years ago, a group of twelve FCJ Sisters boarded the SS Liguria at Gravesend, England, and set off for Australia. They travelled in response to requests from Archbishop Goold in Melbourne and Fr Joseph Dalton, the Jesuit Provincial. After a voyage of six weeks, the little group arrived on 1 June 1882 in the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit and within twelve days of their arrival, the Melbourne Catholic paper reports that the Sisters had opened their high school and free school.
The author of Twelve Came First, Aileen Ryan fcJ is the Archivist for the FCJ Sisters at their Congregational Centre in Richmond, Victoria. Sr Aileen draws on a journal of the voyage kept by the group - a series of letters addressed to Mother Josephine, the General Superior, and sent back from each port at which they broke the voyage. It is an intriguing first-hand account of the travel of the day.
Further groups of FCJ sisters arrived in 1884, 1885 and 1888, and their work rapidly expanded. Again the author draws on contemporary accounts of setting up schools, teaching, parish and devotional activities, and aspects of society.
Twelve Came First – the FCJ Mission to Australia by
Aileen Ryan fcJ
Twelve Came First is available from
FCJ Sisters, 44A Waltham St, Richmond VIC 3121
Tel 03 9429 5701 Fax 03 9429 5503
or from your book store