For almost 80 years, the MSS has been a presence of God’s love and friendship in the lives of countless people whom we’ve met on the highways and byways of Australia and beyond. At its peak, we had more than 55 women in our community. Today, there are 21 of us—11 in Melbourne, Victoria; six in Toowoomba, Queensland; one in Mackay, Queensland; two in Hobart, Tasmania; and one in Whyalla, South Australia.
Our mission has changed and evolved over the years, from serving in rural and remote areas of Australia, to those on the margins in our larger cities and towns, and in our local neighbourhoods. In order to meet the needs of the time, and in fidelity to our spirit of being flexible and adaptable, we created a mission entity that would carry on our mission into the future: The John Wallis Foundation (established in 2010), which was later renamed to Highways and Byways—Healing the Land, Healing Ourselves, Together in 2018. Through its staff, board, volunteers and friends, and the partnerships and small grants program, Highways and Byways continues to support people and projects that express the particular character and spirit that has inspired our community’s mission since 1944.
Recognising that our community of women grows smaller each year, and the work of Highways and Byways continues to grow, we wanted to capture some of our reflections on video for future generations. In partnership with Highways and Byways, the MSS has created a series of videos, which can be found on our website in the News section, which currently features several of our Melbourne-based sisters sharing their reflections on a number of questions that speak to who we are as a community of women and the impact that both the people and the land have had on our ministry. Specifically, we reflected on the questions: What drew you to the MSS? What has been the main expression of your mission? And, how would someone know in the future that Highways and Byways is carrying on the spirit, vision and mission of the MSS?
‘We hope that the legacy, story and spirit of the MSS will live on in our mission entity, Highways and Byways, and in all of the people who have shared the journey and mission with us. We wouldn’t be who we are, or where we are without all of the people who have been part of our lives,’ said Stancea Vichie MSS, congregational leader.
WHAT DREW YOU IN TO BE A MISSIONARY SISTER OF SERVICE?
WHAT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICAL EXPRESSION OF YOUR MISSION?
HOW WOULD SOMEONE KNOW THAT HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS IS AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR SPIRIT AND VISION?