Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/269

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THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

was hired and fitted up as his cathedral, and here he commenced his self-denying labours as Bishop of Adelaide."

South Australia enjoys the unique distinction of being the only colony that has so far given to the Church a religious order peculiar to the southern hemisphere. This order is known as the Sisters of St. Joseph, and is mainly composed of the daughters of Irish families, who have devoted their lives to the education of the poor. The sisters conduct schools in all the leading centres of South Australia, and have latterly been extending their field of duty to the neighbouring colonies as well. At the inception of the order, they had a hard struggle to maintain a footing in their own colony, for they were assailed by slanders and misrepresentations, and for a time they were suppressed and disbanded, on prudential grounds by Dr. Shell, the then Bishop of Adelaide. An appeal to Rome ensued, and Pope Pius IX. reversed the bishop's decision. The order was thereupon re-established, and it has ever since nobly vindicated its right to exist, and effectually silenced the voice of calumny, by the earnest, self-denying labours of its members throughout the colonies in the cause of Catholic primary education. Its founder, the Rev. Julian E. Tenison-Woods, has gained a widespread reputation as perhaps the most eminent scientist in the southern hemisphere; but many who have read his numerous works on the geology, botany, and natural history of the Australian continent, are, perhaps, not aware that his real vocation is that of a hard-working missionary priest, and that his scientific studies have been for the most part pursued in the brief intervals of leisure allowed him by the calls of sacred duty.

It is related that a little over forty years ago a few priests ventured northwards from New South Wales to what was