Celebrating 76 years of mission and service

Scones with cream and jam ontop

Bowl of scones with cream and jam and pot of tea and cup of teaToday, 8th July 2020, we celebrate our 76-year anniversary of going out into the highways and byways of Australia, and beyond, being a presence of love and friendship to all we encounter. As is tradition, our Community of Women will gather where we can, and celebrate with scones! Why’s this? Let us share some of our history with you, which can also be found in our Food for the Highways and Byways cookbook, along with the recipe of course! (page 23).

July 8th 1944 marks the official commencement of the Missionary Sisters of Service, who at that time were known as the Home Missionary Sisters of Our Lady. All their community homes were called Rosary House. Upon arriving at their new home in Launceston, the first sisters, Monica Carroll, Gwen Morse and Joyce O’Brien (Kath Moore came a few weeks later), found it transformed. A Number of priests, including the founder, Father John Wallis, along with about 30 members of the Launceston and Invermay branches of the Catholic Women’s League were waiting to welcome them.

The story that has been passed down through the sisters is that Launceston’s Catholic women had brought scones to welcome the new community. So many scones came their way that they were nourished with scones for days! Given it was wartime and coupons were still in use, the generosity of these women, and many other communities, in donating so much food was gratefully acknowledged and received.

It is now an MSS tradition that wherever we are on 8th July, we celebrate our Community’s Foundation Day with scones! In a recent message to our women and friends of the Community, congregational leader, Stancea Vichie mss, wrote:

Good morning to each of you, the faces of the continuing vision and mission which formally began 76 years ago tomorrow in Tasmania with four courageous women, Gwen, Alice, Kathleen and Joyce, and one visionary priest, John.  At the end of St. John’s gospel, the writer says that there were many other things that Jesus did, ‘if they were written down one by one, I do not suppose the world itself would contain all the books written’. John 21:25.

Could this not also be said in part of the story of the past 76 years and everyone who has or is still part of this emerging mission which flows directly from the mission of Jesus.  This is each of you and it is certainly a time to give thanks for you and so much more. …  the mission continues with great adaptation and diversity, yet within the same deep spirit of ‘being with people in their ordinary everyday lives wherever they are’.

We encourage you all to celebrate with us today, wherever you are, and enjoy a scone!