Ever since their foundation in 1857, the Good Sams have made the whole of Australia their neighbourhood as they set up communities and schools across this vast continent to minister in the spirit of the Good Samaritan and their founder John Bede Polding.
In the late 1940s, their neighbourhood was to expand dramatically when they were invited by Paul Yamaguchi, Bishop of Nagasaki, to help in the reconstruction of his diocese which had been devastated by the 1945 atomic bomb.
In October 1948, six Good Samaritan Sisters left Sydney on board the SS Changte bound for Japan to give, in the words of Mother Oliverio Murphy, the congregational leader of that time, “out of our poverty, not out of our plenty”.
The sisters immediately began working in the Good Samaritan dispensary, ‘pouring oil and wine’ into the wounds of the victims of the atomic bomb, just like the Samaritan traveller of old.
In 1952, the sisters left Nagasaki to establish communities in Sasebo and Nara. There they started kindergartens, worked in Nara parish and built Seiwa High School in Sasebo.
In time, young Japanese women were attracted to the Good Samaritan spirituality and way of life. Over the years the ministries of the Japanese and Australian Good Sams have been varied as the sisters endeavoured to be neighbour to the people of this ancient land of Japan.
Apart from their ongoing commitment to the education of children, the sisters started Christian study groups for women, established outreach programmes for people living in high rise apartment blocks, involved themselves in parish ministry, taught catechetics and advocated for justice.
Not being content just to ‘look after their own’, the sisters in Japan had a strong desire to reach out in justice and compassion to the poor amongst their Asian neighbours. In 1990 they established a Good Samaritan foundation in the Philippines.