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The timeline for the foundations from Mount Erin Convent for furthering education can be viewed on the southern wall of the Sisters’ Room in the Mount Erin Heritage Centre. As well as establishing schools in the Diocese of Wagga Wagga, Diocese of Wilcannia/Forbes, Archdiocese of Sydney and Archdiocese of Canberra/Goulburn the sisters established Star of the Sea Convent Gardenvale, Victoria in 1883. Their pioneering adventurous spirit was again challenged when they were invited to make foundations at Southern Cross in Western Australia and Longreach in Queensland in February,1900.
As the years progressed “the Tent” of Education was widened with Sisters running catechetical programs in holiday time for Catholic children attending state schools. State School Catechetics under the names of Motor Mission and Confraternity of Christian Doctrine were also established.
Sisters have taught in schools staffed by different Congregations in both Canberra and Sydney, as well as lecturing at universities and being part of university campuses. One Sister has written several books and won an international competition for a book on the Life of Nano Nagle. In their retirement, many Sisters have continued the work of education.
As well as Education, Music has been a special part of the story. In the beginning it was the fees for music teaching that enabled each community to exist and there was always a music teacher in each community. Their presence also enhanced the Parish Liturgy with their organ playing and conducting of choirs. Some students went on to become famous musicians and often returned to give thanks.
John Donnelly and John Cox, two of the generous benefactors who supported the coming of the Sisters provided the land and money for the building of the convent. They were also very keen to establish Boarding School accommodation for young girls in country areas. This idea did not meet with the approval of the Bishop of the day. However the persistence of the Parents and Sisters prevailed. In 1890 the first wing was built, followed by many additions over the years. Mount Erin Boarding School has provided an opportunity for young women to be educated, and in 2004, the doors were opened to the young boys of the Riverina. Mount Erin Boarding School provides accommodation for over 100 students who are able to avail themselves of the opportunity to attend Kildare Catholic College or Mater Dei Catholic College.
The Presentation Sisters, Presentation Ex-students and Presentation Associates have provided mutual support and spiritual nourishment to one another. These groups have been a great source of energy and strength to the Sisters in their ministries and the exploring and understanding of Nano Nagle’s charism.
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