Our History in Australia


Our Congregation of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master was founded by Blessed father James Alberione in Alba, Italy, on 10th of February 1924. We were the third institute of the Pauline Family, preceded by the Society of Saint Paul (1914) and the Daughters of Saint Paul (1915).

The apostolic and missionary spirit of Saint Paul the Apostle that animated the Founder meant that Pauline houses soon were opened in various nations. As early as 1931, the Founder sent the first missionary Sister Disciples to Argentina. Quickly other new openings followed.

The first missionary Sister Disciples who reached the Australian soil were Sr. M. Annunziata Stanizzi and Sister M. Laurentina Bertero. On January 26th 1956, they waved goodbye to their community and homeland and left from Naples, Italy, on a ship bound for Sydney, Australia. Placing all their trust in the Lord in faith they followed the desire of the Founder to extend our mission to “promising Oceania”.

They joined the Pauline community that had already been established in Sydney. As it was the case for all the beginnings of the Pauline Family, in the different nations where they went, our Sisters took care of the household, providing for the material needs of the priests and brothers who were directly dedicated to the spreading of the Gospel through the press and the means of communication.

The sisters did not speak English, they knew very little about the people or the culture of Australia. What they did possess in abundance was a deep faith and a heart aflame with the love for God and his people.  And God’s Providence was always there.

In 1960, sr. M. Ilaria Oyama arrived from Japan and sr. Laurentina, whose health was unsuited for the Australian climate returned to Italy. Soon other sisters joined the little group: sr. M. Angelica Shirota arrived from Japan, sr. M. Bernadette Abdilla, a Maltese sister came from Italy, and Sr. M. Ortensia Puente from Spain.

Under the wise guidance of Mother Annunziata, they worked hard with the desire to promote and develop the specific mission at the service of the Eucharist, Liturgy and Priesthood. They began making liturgical vestments and eventually, in 1965, they opened a Liturgical Centre, a place for diffusion of liturgical objects for the beauty of the House of God. As the apostolate progressed, other missionary Sister Disciples from different countries were sent to join them.

New vocations started entering the community, including young ladies from New Zealand and from the Pacific Islands of Samoa and Tonga.

In 1972 at the request of the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Sister Disciples’ presence extended to Victoria and they commenced the first house dedicated to the sick and elderly priests of the Archdiocese.

Shortly after, the International Eucharistic Congress was held in Melbourne in 1973, in which the Sister Disciples participated with a liturgical display. After the event, they were invited to come to Auckland, New Zealand. And in 1982, at the request of Cardinal Pio Taofinuu, they reached out to the Pacific Island of Samoa with an opening of a community (closed in 1991).

Our mission in Australia continues thanks to the unfailing faith and apostolic endeavour of our brave Pioneer Sisters. We thank God for all the blessings he continues to bestow on us for His glory and salvation of His people.