Media and Communications
Two Missionary Sisters of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus recently celebrated their diamond jubilee, which is 60 years of service. Sr Jacquelyn Bender and Sr Francis Baum have been in the West Heidelberg and community for many decades and work with the St Pius X church and parish.
Sr Francis Baum talks about the history of their order, how the first sisters came to Australia and what part she and Sr Jacquelyn played.
The order was founded by Fr Hubert Linckens, who was born in 1861 in Holland to a large Catholic family. His father was widowed twice and Fr Hubert was raised mainly by their housekeeper as well as his sister. His sister had a major influence on him and was herself an Ursuline sister. She became his confidante when he expressed the desire to pursue the priesthood.
At age 14 Fr Hubert was allowed to travel France, first to Chezal Benoit to join the Apolstolic School and later to St Gerand le Puy to start his noviate. He experienced the expulsion of all clerics from their monasteries in France, and left in a haste with others to Holland. His order received the name of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in 1855. He stayed in Holland and was ordained a priest in 1886.
Fr Hubert moved and finally settled in Munster, Germany. The founder of his society, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, commissioned him to establish a congregation of Sisters who would share the charism and spirituality of their founder, Fr. Jules Chevalier. The initial purpose of the foundation was to provide German Sisters to work in the mission island area of Papua New Guinea which were newly acquired colonies under the German government.
The sisters came to Australia at first as a place as recreation and respite from Papua New Guinea. They soon permanently settled here to assist priests and created communities in Victoria. One was West Heidelberg, which they are still part of.