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Daughters of Charity honoured at Hutt St Centre


From Sr Vincent Cormac to Sr Carole Jones, 34 Sisters of the Daughters of Charity have faithfully served at Hutt St Centre, formerly known as St Louise’s House, since its founding in 1954.

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Last month the centre unveiled an honour roll commemorating the work of all Sisters who have supported people at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Adelaide.

The event coincided with Sr Carole’s golden jubilee and her departure to Sydney after five years as a Board director and leader of the Hutt St Centre pastoral care program.

The honour roll was donated by the Southern Cross Charitable Trust Fund in memory of Phil Burns, a former State chairman of the Knights of the Southern Cross in SA. Mr Burns was an active member of the Knights, a national organisation for lay Catholic men, until his passing in 2019.

His son, Chris Burns, is chief executive officer of the Hutt St Centre. Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Burns said the honour board would be a lasting reminder of the centre’s connection with the Daughters of Charity and their values.

“Hutt St Centre has always responded to the challenges and needs of our community with the courage, perseverance and resourcefulness of our founding Sisters,” he said.

“Today we maintain a strong commitment to providing support to those who need us in a way that is both practical and empowering.”

Mr Burns also paid tribute to Sr Carole who had “endeared herself to clients, volunteers and staff through her warm and compassionate nature, her gentle wisdom, and her willingness to lend a hand”.

The current State chairman of the Knights, Don Campbell, said funding of $1800 had been obtained from the Charitable Trust for the newly redeveloped Hutt St Centre. He paid tribute to Phil Burns for his inspirational leadership and said the honour roll was a fitting memorial to him.

The new honour board at the Hutt St Centre.

Hutt St Centre was established by the Daughters of Charity and the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide to care for people at risk or experiencing homelessness. Three Sisters – Vincent Cormac, Agatha Ellrott, and Maria Maguire – opened St Louise’s House at 258 Hutt Street, Adelaide.

Working in the local community, they found many people were suffering in isolation, sleeping in the surrounding parklands, or living in temporary boarding houses. In the alley behind the Centre, now known as Vincent Place, the Sisters provided sandwiches and jars of tea to people in need.

Fifty years to the day after entering the Daughters of Charity novitiate in Sydney on June 8, Sr Carole said she felt a strong connection to the Sisters after working with them in aged care as a young nursing aide.

“I always had a feeling there was something drawing me to a life of service,” she said.

“I would go with the Sisters to care for people living in poverty and I thought this is where I am meant to be.”

Raised an Anglican in her home city of Newcastle, Sr Carole converted to Catholicism at the age of 21. After working as a lay missionary in Broome for 18 months, she returned to Newcastle to prepare her application to enter the Daughters of Charity which she did on December 8 1970. After completing her six months postulancy she took her first vows on June 8 1971.

In 1980, after she had been working in aged care, with children with a learning disability and with First Nations People, she was asked to do her general nursing at the Mater Hospital in Crows Nest.

Over the past five decades Sr Carole has also become adept at using sand play therapy for children and adults dealing with the impact of trauma in their lives.

She said the miniature figures used in the therapy helped individuals to tell their story in a safe way.

She also trained in ‘mandala’, a reflective process conducted within a circle, in Colorado Springs.

Her travels have also taken her to the Daughters of Charity mother house in Paris where she has met fellow Sisters from all over the world.

With Sisters from 96 countries in the order, Sr Carole said there was a “wonderful commonality that holds us together”.

Her “great love” of Aboriginal people has been a constant in her life and she has ministered in a number of communities in WA and NSW.

Similarly, she said her work with homeless people at Hutt St Centre had been “life giving” and she had gained much more than she’d given from clients, staff and volunteers.

“The Adelaide people have been the most amazing I’ve come across – they always manage to come to the centre’s aid when it’s needed,” she said.

“It’s a very special place.”

While health issues have prompted the 74 year old’s return to Sydney, she expects to continue her pastoral care work in some way and has taken her beloved “miniatures” with her.

“Hopefully I can do something in schools or in nursing homes, perhaps with Alzheimer patients; I think it could help trigger a memory for them,” she said.


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