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Honouring Jesuit pioneers


The Jesuit communities at Norwood and Sevenhill celebrated the 175th anniversary of the first Jesuit presence in Australia in December.

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Austrian Jesuit Fr Aloysius Kranewitter arrived in Adelaide on December 8 1848 with a group of Prussian Silesian immigrants who were fleeing religious persecution. Ordained only six weeks before his departure, Fr Kranewitter was instructed to travel to Clare Valley where he helped establish a German Catholic settlement.

The anniversary Mass at Norwood. Photo: David McMahon

Archbishop Patrick O’Regan joined Emeritus Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ and other Jesuit leaders at the anniversary Mass in St Ignatius Church, Norwood, on December 9.

In his homily, Bishop O’Kelly said after travelling four days and three nights by oxen to the outskirts of Clare, Fr Kranewitter’s companion became seriously ill and returned to Europe.

“They sold the rest of their possessions to fund his fare, the day of his departure being one of deep desolation for the young Fr Kranewitter; his faith in providence was rewarded when he received the news that two Jesuit Brothers had been despatched to join him,” Bishop O’Kelly said.

On December 20, exactly 175 years after Fr Kranewitter arrived in Clare Valley, Mass was celebrated at Sevenhill.

Fr Brendan Kelly SJ, Superior of Sevenhill, remembered “with affection and gratitude Fr Kranewitter and those families who supported him.


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