Celebrating 75 years

CELEBRATION: From left, Liz McAloon, Bernadette Wallis MSS, Carmel and Kevin Wallis from Cleve and Stancea Vickie MSS.

CELEBRATION: From left, Liz McAloon, Bernadette Wallis MSS, Carmel and Kevin Wallis from Cleve and Stancea Vickie MSS.

The Missionary Sisters of Service celebrated 75 years of service to the country people of Australia and 48 years in the Whyalla area at the Catholic Parish of Whyalla on Thursday.

In July, 1944, a young priest, Father John Wallis, asked four women to start a mission to Catholic families outback.

They started in Tasmania, then some went to Parkes, NSW, Toowoomba Queensland, and later Whyalla, in 1971.

They became known as the Missionary Sisters of Service. There are currently 26 Sisters in the order.

Guests of honour for the day included Sr Stancea Vichie, the Congregational Leader, Sr Bernadette Wallis, who wrote a book containing letters Father Wallis sent home 'Dear Mother, Dear Father', Sr Cheryle Thompson, who works in the parish as part of the Parish Pastoral Team and Liz McAloon the executive officer of the John Wallis Foundation.

People had travelled from Ceduna, Streaky Bay, Port Lincoln, Wudinna, Poochera, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Cleve to join in the sisters' celebration.

Many spoke about their memories of the Sisters, their companionship, assistance in teaching their children and support through famine, fire and floods.

A film was shown on the work of the Sisters all over Australia.

Stancea Vichie MSS, spoke of the aging population of sisters and how they have set up a trust 'The Highways and Byways Small Grants Program' to continue good works in isolated areas.

Five projects in the Port Pirie Diocese were successful in obtaining a grant. Whyalla's Good Sam Inn received $1,200 to purchase a fridge and barbecue to help feed the less fortunate community members.

The Prison Ministry Team received $2000 to provide toiletries, phone cards and food vouchers to those leaving prison to give them a good start outside prison.

In the evening a Mass was held for the feast of Assumption and a shared dinner followed so all visitors could catch up with the sisters.