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St John of God Health Care celebrates Foundation of the Sisters of St John of God


Members of the 1986 Sisters of St John of God provincial leadership team, from left: Sr Cecilia Masterson (treasurer), Sr Verna Haugh (province leader) and Sr Assumption Neary (assistant leader) with Sister Mary Maurita Sengelaub, Mercy International Health Services. Photo: Supplied.

St John of God Health Care celebrated its annual Foundation of the Sisters of St John of God on 5 October.

The festivity saw the organisation look back at the period from 1950 to 1990 when the Sisters were inspired to respond radically to the signs of the times.

The post-war period baby boom and significant changes in medical science were among the challenges Australia was experiencing during this time.

These factors along with the need to update facilities and respond to new Church thinking shaped the responses of the Sisters of St John of God.


Special Nursery at St John of God Subiaco Hospital circa 1970. Photo: Supplied.

Marcelle Mogg, St John of God Health Care Group Director of Mission Integration, said there were many similarities with the challenges faced by the Sisters from the 1950s to 1990 to those we are facing today.

“Our theme for this year’s Foundation Day is to read the signs of the time,” Ms Mogg explained.

“Looking back at how the Sisters dealt with new technologies and limited resources can inspire us to tackle our own challenges with enthusiasm while ensuring we stay true to our mission to care for the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual dimensions of all.”

Ms Mogg said the Sisters’ resilience in continuing to care for the sick and injured during this time saw their services expand to meet demand.

“Demand for care was high, and the baby boom and post-war migration put extraordinary pressure on the health system,” Ms Mogg added.

“So, the Sisters looked at ways to read the signs of the times to ensure they could continue serving others and sustain their ministry into the future.

“As a result of their vision, on 20 September 1989, St John of God Health Care was incorporated, and the work of the Sisters was transferred to the new entity,” she concluded.