A brief look at the journey to Australia of the Sisters of St Paul de Chartres journey
Fr. Albert Chan dreamed that a congregation of Chinese Sisters would one day start a nursing home in Brisbane. He then received wonderful news that the Sisters of St Paul de Chartres had been running Aurora College in Moss Vale N.S.W for 3 years.
Fr. Chan introduced himself to the provincial Superior, Mother Lucie Marie Ko. Whilst enduring many setbacks, Mother Lucie’s prayerful patience finally led her and the Community to Brisbane.
In December 1989, St Catherine’s parish priest, Father McHugh, met the Sisters of St Paul de Chartres at Brisbane Airport. The Sisters immediately set to work. Sr. Teresa volunteered to work in other hostels, gathering experience in the personal care of residents. Sr. Lucie helped in the parish, visiting families and bringing them Holy Communion, while Sr. Nancy taught children in the parish.
In October 1990 the Sisters purchased land at 12 Fedrick Street Boronia Heights and an application for rezoning was submitted to local council. In 1991, Logan City Council accepted the Sisters’ application and construction of the hostel began.
The 15th August 1991 saw the laying of the foundation stone by His Grace, Francis Rush, Archbishop of Brisbane. The first group of seven residents moved into St Paul de Chartres Villa in May of the following year, 1992.
In mid July 1992 construction of 18 retirement units and a chapel commenced. On completion, the Chapel was blessed by Bishop John Gerry. In 1994 residents began living in the retirement units and in 1995 construction of an additional 28 units and a community centre commenced.
The Sisters’ desire to provide differing levels of care in response to varying community needs, saw an additional 38 beds added. By June 2004, the Facility had grown into a modern 98 bed aged care facility and 46 retirement units.
Regional Superior Sr. Teresa Lau, Sr. Lucie Ko and Sr. Nancy Wong remain at the forefront of the Facility, overseeing its management and working on developing it further.
The Sisters’ work in Brisbane of providing a place of peace, love and joy for the retired and elderly has evolved over many years and their dedication to continue their journey is still paramount today.
May St. Paul our Patron continue to guide and support us in the service of leading others gently to treasure the meaning of this gift of life.
A journey of devotion
Origin and Charism of The Sisters of St. Paul De Chartres
The Order of the Sisters of St Paul de Chartres was born in a small village some 15 miles southeast of Chartres in France in 1696.
Seeing the poverty and suffering of the people in his parish, Fr Chauvet immediately set out to relieve their plight. He realized that he could not do it alone. It did not take him long to find like-mined souls to start his mission.
Three generous, courageous, selfless women were happy and eager to give their life to God in the service of their poor and disadvantaged neighbours.
One of these, Marie Anne de Tilly, a young lady from a noble family, assisted Fr Chauvet by training the others to be future teachers. Fr Chauvet led the girls in their religious formation. The Sisters had only one rule to follow: The Charity of Christ.
In 1708, Fr Chauvet entrusted the budding community to the care of the Bishop of Chartres, Bishop Paul Godet Des Marais. He became the ecclesiastical superior of the sisters and gave them the name of St Paul, the Apostles. Hence, the Sisters are known as the “Sisters of St Paul de Chartres”.
From the earliest times, the Congregation responded to the missionary call. The Sisters were challenged in their generosity, courage and missionary zeal. In 1727 four young Sisters set out on a 120 days journey to Cayenne, French Guiana, a colony in South America where prisoners and convicts were deported by the Government.
A century later the second momentous missionary journey was launched in 1848 to China. It was from here that the Sisters extended their work to other countries in South East Asia. In early 20th century, the Sisters expanded their mission to Europe, North America, Africa and Russia.
Today the Sisters have their missions in 34 countries over 5 continents.
On 22 October, 1984 three Sisters from the Hong Kong Province landed in Australia. Aurora College (now known as St Paul’s International College) is a co-educational, multicultural boarding college for year 11 and 12 in Moss vale, NSW. Click link: www.spic.nsw.edu.au
1989 the Sisters responded to the call to build an aged care home for the elderly in Brisbane, Queensland. Three Sisters arrived the same year and in 1992 a new aged care home was opened to serve the senior community.
Today St Paul de Chartres Residential Aged Care is home for many senior residents.
True to their humble beginnings, the Sisters try to live the simplicity of the gospel in poverty and charity. With tranquil daring and audacity, they endeavor to make themselves ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE by serving especially the needy and the most neglected wherever they are called.