School History

Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph.

St Mary’s Catholic School Hastings was opened in 1957 by the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and is known as a ‘Josephite School’.

Mary MacKillop was born in 1842 in Melbourne,  Australia and was the eldest of eight children. Her family was poor and endured much hardship.

The Sisters of St Joseph were founded in Australia by Father Julian Tenison-Woods and Mary (who then became known as Sister Mary MacKillop) when she was originally working as a governess and became acutely aware of the problem of children growing up without education and religious training, particularly so the children of the poor.

Father Julian and Sister Mary began a school for the children of the poor in Penola, South Australia in 1866. Sister Mary and other Sisters of her congregation soon began opening schools across the region and by 1890 there were 130 Sisters of St Joseph working in schools, orphanages, refuges for women and shelters for the elderly. In time, Sister Mary travelled to New Zealand and was instrumental in the setting up of many Catholic Schools across the country.

The Sisters followed the mission of Jesus through Saint Joseph who is their Patron Saint. They chose Joseph as their Patron Saint as he was an exemplary model of; stewardship, faithfulness, the Gospel values, teaching, sustainability and had a strong work ethic. We live the mission gifted to us by the Sisters of St Joseph.

Mary is recognised as a model of Christian life. Her life reflects the values that are at the heart of the Gospel. Mary is now known as Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop.