Catholic Charities

Charity has always been a core part of Catholicism and considered to be essential to faith. This is why there are many catholic care homes, orphanages, hospitals, etc., in fact; the church occupies a significant position when it comes to charity in Australia.

The early nun Catholics focused more on charity than educational work. This was necessary for a country without a welfare state. By 1900, Sisterhood ran up to five hospitals in New South Wales, this included a psychiatric hospital for women, a hospice, a foundling hospital, seven orphanages, deaf children’s residential school, training school and home for servants, two former prostitutes’ refuge homes, three industrial schools, night refuge for women and aged poor’s home. Beyond this, they also did significant work with Sydney Hospital’s patients, immigrant servant girls, the ill poor, Darlington Gaol’s prisoners, girls in the Reformatory and Industrial School and inmates of the aged asylums.

There are also specialised ministries. A good example is the Rosary Convent for the Deaf and Dumb in Newcastle established by Sr Mary Gabriel Hogan, who was deaf in 1875. This convent was in operation for more than a century.

Religious and state institutions have played a significant role in caring for orphaned and abandoned children. Children of poor and large families who were in distress also spent a significant amount of time in the care of these institutions. About 130 catholic institutions serve as orphanages and provide this car with thousands of children in their care.

The first orphanage was the Roman Catholic Orphan School. It was established in the 1840s in Parramatta. Another orphanage was established in Adelaide by the Sisters of St Joseph led by Mary MacKillop. By the late nineteenth century, the care provided by catholic orphanages increased greatly as the state policy favoured boarding out instead.

The experience in catholic orphanages differs Greatly. While some made happy memories in his places, many complained about the poor care ad deprivation and the impersonal nature of the underfunded care received. Some even complained about mistreatment in the homes. In 2009, the church issued an official apology.

Unfortunately, the vulnerability orphans make them prone to all forms of abuse.  As such, some residential care institutions for disabled and orphans witnessed a high rate of sexual abuse. Examples of such are Bindoon and Tardun in Western Australia.

This covenant in Melbourne was once considered the biggest charitable institution in the southern hemisphere. It was founded in 1863 by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and was in operation for 100 years. During this period, it took inwards of the state, female orphans, aged women, and girls who are thought to be in mortal danger.

Catholics also established hospitals, and the most famous are Sisters of Charity’s St Vincent’s in Melbourne and Sydney. Sr M. John Baptist de Lacy founded the one in Sydney in 1857, and it performed the first successful heart transplant in Australia in 1984.

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