Josephite Education

These Are the Children I Love

Mary MacKillop’s heartfelt words about a barefoot ragged boy, ‘Ah, Sister, these are the children I love’ provide the sub-title of the exhibition in the schoolhouse, the focus of which is 19th century Josephite education in Penola.

It covers early efforts to provide Catholic education in what was ‘a wild part of the bush’ and also Mary’s own educational and religious experiences prior to her co-founding the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1866 at Penola where, as she put it, ‘The work of our dear Institute began’.

Mary was an exceptional teacher and the unique method she devised to imbue a first-rate Australian secular education with the universal spirituality of Catholicism is highlighted. Desks in the schoolroom allow visitors of all ages to sample a 19th century Josephite educational experience, as does singing around the old organ.