When Archbishop John Bede Polding founded the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in 1857, he gave them a broad and flexible scope, indicating that the sisters were to have a Christ-like attitude of compassion for the diverse groups they served.
They were to be compassionate neighbours to the sick, the orphaned, the homeless and the poor. They would, he said, be ready to teach in schools and “apply themselves to every other charitable work”.
From the very beginning, however, commitment to women and the education of young people has been at the heart of the Congregation’s mission.
The journey of education in the Good Samaritan-Benedictine spirit began in 1861 with the establishment of a school at Sussex Street in Sydney. It is a journey rich and diverse. For over 150 years the Sisters of the Good Samaritan have been involved in all forms of education – faith education, all levels of schooling, tertiary and adult education – in Australia, Japan, the Phillipines and Kiribati.
The most recent school is the Good Samaritan Early Childhood Centre which was opened in Kiribati in 2009.
In Australia, in 2011, the sisters’ ministry in Catholic education comprised ten schools in five dioceses: the Archdioceses of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and the Dioceses of Broken Bay and Wollongong.
The Congregation valued these schools as a sphere of its apostolic activity within the mission of the Church. In reading the signs of the times as they relate to the Good Samaritan Sisters and their schools, the congregation discerned that 2011 was the appropriate time to embrace a new and different future.
Following a period of discernment which involved the sisters and the Good Samaritan schools, Congregational Superior, Sister Clare Condon, established Good Samaritan Education.
With the agreement of the Archbishops of Melbourne and Brisbane and the Bishops of Wollongong and Broken Bay, the Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell, constituted Good Samaritan Education as a new ecclesial entity.