Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
Western Australia - Organisation

Benedictine Missionary Sisters (1904 - )

Care Provider, Catholic and Religious Order
Alternative Names
  • Benedictine Sisters (also known as)

The Benedictine Missionary Sisters were a group of Catholic religious women who ran what was known as St Joseph's Native School and Orphanage, New Norcia from 1904 to 1974.


The Benedictine Missionary Sisters were encouraged, according to Massam (2008, p.205) to value 'poverty, hard manual work, separation from family, obedience to a superior, and dedication to a demanding monastic timetable as a means of increasing their own capacity for holiness and growing closer to God'. These values 'governed the choices' made by the Sisters and the Benedictine monks at New Norcia in the way they ran the institutions and enclosed the children in their 'care'.

During their 70 years at New Norcia, 43 of the 53 Sisters were Spanish and did not speak English when they arrived and spoke it poorly thereafter.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Massam, Katharine, That There was Love in This Home: The Benedictine Missionary Sisters at New Norcia, Evangelists of Empire?: Missionaries in Colonial History, Barry, Amanda; Cruickshank, Joanna; Brown-May, Andrew; and Grimshaw, Patricia, University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre, Melbourne, 2008, pp.201, 205..

Prepared by: Debra Rosser