Fifty years of the Pastorelle Sisters in Australia
Fr James Alberione (now 'Blessed') would never have imagined, when he
founded the Pastorelle Sisters in 1938, that in less than twenty years
they would have made their first foundation in Carlton, Melbourne.
In 1955, Sisters Tarcisia, Alberta and Rosaria moved into a house at 197
Drummond Street, Carlton, that was owned by the Sacred Heart Parish.
I first visited them in early 1956 together with Carmine Tricarico,
another seminarian. So began a friendship with the Pastorelle
Sisters which has been, and continues to be, one of the great blessings
of my life.
This Foreword is about the
Pastorelle Sisters, not me, but I am sure the positive influence they
have had on me reflects their influence in the lives of many of the
readers of these pages.
After ordination in 1957, I spent
several months in Geelong West and then three years in Europe, mainly in
Rome. I was appointed to St. Mary's Parish, West Melbourne, in
August 1962. Many of the parishioners were recently arrived
migrants from Southern Italy and Malta. During my time at St.
Mary's and then, later, at St. Augustine's, Yarraville, I came to depend
very much on the Pastorelle Sisters for advice and practical assistance,
for encouragement and for wonderful examples of how to work pastorally
with Italian migrants.
In late 1963, the Sisters moved to
Smith Street, Thornbury, quite close to my family home and very much
il mio paese. Their coming to live and work in my home suburb,
and getting to know my family and neighbours, enabled my friendship with
the Pastorelle Sisters to develop further. In June 1965, Sister
Luigia Cuffolo came to Melbourne. By the time I was appointed by
Archbishop James Knox to be Vicar for Religious in 1969, Sister Luigia
was confident enough with her English to take an active part in meetings
of Religious Superiors. Although years younger than many of her
counterparts, she did much to persuade many of them that leadership in
those immediate post-conciliar years was not about being fearful of
When Sister Rita brought me a draft
of Anna Davine's "Building Community: Fifty Years of the Pastorelle
Sisters in Australia", I set myself to read then pages a day.
I began at 4.30pm one afternoon and, despite my original plan, had read
the entire manuscript by late that night.
I recommend this book to you
unreservedly. It is absorbing, wonderfully written, and a
completely professional account of recent history. It is not
simply an 'in house' account of the Life and Times of the Pastorelle
Sisters. I became absorbed at my first reading because,
indirectly, it said so much to me about the life in parish ministry in
the 1960s, about Religious Life over these fifty years, about the Church
in the northern suburbs, and about the Church and society in the past
This book will grow in significance
for future generations because of the marvellous snapshot it provides of
life in an increasingly multicultural Australia in the second half of
the twentieth century.
Most Reverend Joseph P.
Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne (Retired)
Annamaria Davine is an honorary research fellow in the School of
Historical Studies at Melbourne University. She was born in Conco
(Vicenza) in 1949); began her tertiary education at Melbourne University
in 1991, as a mature age student, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
(Hons) degree in 1997. Anna also completed a Master of Arts (Hons)
thesis in 2000, now published ('Vegnimo Da Conco Ma Simo Veneti'
- IAI 2006). She recently completed a PhD, also at Melbourne
University. Anna is married to Derry and they have two children
and three grandchildren.
The Italian Australian Institute (I.A.I.) is a non-profit organisation,
supported by the co-operation between the Grollo-Ruzzene Foundation and
La Trobe University. Its charter states that its main aim is to
research and study every aspect of the Italian presence in Australia.