The Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of Saint Benedict is the first Australian ‘home grown’ congregation of Catholic religious women. Archbishop John Bede Polding, an English Benedictine monk and Australia’s first bishop, founded the congregation in Sydney in 1857.
Known affectionately as the Good Sams, the congregation and the wider Good Sam family continue to draw inspiration from two key sources:
Jesus told his Gospel story 2,000 years ago on the steep, dusty road that ran between Jerusalem and Jericho. The story was about being neighbour.
Centuries later in the bustling harbour city of Sydney, Archbishop Polding became a neighbour to the needy and outcasts of colonial society – to convicts, the unemployed, the local Indigenous people and the fledgling colony’s many destitute women. He founded the Good Samaritan Sisters to continue this work.
The Good Samaritans were to be, in Polding’s words, missionary Benedictines in the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. Their neighbourhood soon opened out beyond Sydney to embrace other cities and rural areas of Australia.
In time the sisters answered the call to respond to the urgent social needs and the spiritual hungers of people in Japan, the Philippines and Kiribati.
Today the Good Sams and their countless partners in ministry bring compassion and justice to an expanding global neighbourhood.