- About OLSH
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French priest Father Jules Chevalier, founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in 1854, and the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in 1874. In 1882, Fr. Chevalier appointed Marie Louise Hartzer to lead the community, and two years later the first profession ceremony of five sisters took place, including Marie Louise.
Fr Chevalier encouraged us to embrace the risk of ‘mission without limits’, and our shared history is full of heroic stories of our Sisters in places all over the world. In 1884, five sisters set out for the great mission of Oceania with just 25 francs between them. Two of the sisters had made their vows just a few hours before.
They arrived in Botany in 1885, where our story in Australia began. When they arrived, they were met by a 19 year old girl, Margaret Sweeney, who became the first Australian Daughter of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Within months of their arrival Sister M. Xavier Ryan, one of the five Sisters who travelled from France, set up a small school on Botany Road.
Soon after their arrival, the Sisters went to Thursday Island, and continued to broaden their outreach over the years following, including to Papua New Guinea in 1887, Thursday Island in 1886, Bowral in NSW and then the small mining town of Mathina on Tasmania’s west coast in 1905.
The Sisters began working with Indigenous people, firstly at Menindee and Wilcannia in NSW and then in the Northern Territory in 1908 where they have worked for over 100 years. They established a school on Ocean Island in 1915 and went to Nauru in 1935. Since then, their work has expanded to include South Africa, the Philippines, South Sudan and Japan.
The Sisters came to Victoria in 1929, at the invitation of the Bishop of Sandhurst. Their first residence and school was at Elmore in central Victoria. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Bentleigh began as a commercial class established by the Sisters at St Paul’s Primary School in 1938. In 1939 the class was moved to a building beside the convent in Jasper Road, and in 1943 it became a Registered Secondary School.
Over the next eight decades, enrolments and facilities at the College grew, due to the foresight and commitment of the OLSH Sisters to continue to provide education for girls.
You can read more about the OLSH Sisters on their website.