History

The Sister Disciples of the Divine Master are part of the Pauline Family founded by Blessed James Alberione in Alba, Italy on 10 February 1924. We are the third institute of the Pauline Family. In communion of spirit with this family, we are called “to live Jesus Christ and to serve the Church.”

The essence of the Sister Disciples’ life is Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. He has called us to follow him and to proclaim him to the world through our Eucharistic-Priestly-Liturgical apostolate.

And so, in 1956, two sisters waved goodbye to their community and homeland and left from Naples on a ship bound for Sydney, Australia. They were to be the first missionaries to this continent, placing all their trust in the Lord in faith following the desire of the Founder to extend our mission to “promising Oceania”.

Mother Annunziata Stanizzi and Sister Mary Laurentina Bertero left at midnight for a strange land, in which they knew they would find many difficulties. They were the first Pious Disciples to grace our land.

God, in His Love, showed them that they were not alone, and a third sister arrived to share their trials with them. Soon God smiled again on these sisters with the arrival of Sister Mary Ilaria Oyama. Sr M Ilaria is a Japanese sister, who spoke only her own native language and so, could not communicate with any of the others in the community. The sisters devised a kind of sign language which sufficed until she was able to pick up a basic knowledge of Italian. What a great suffering it must have been for the young sister! But, this too was one of God’s way of testing their generosity, for He manifested Himself to the group through suffering.

On the 14th June, Sister Mary Angelica Shirota arrived from Japan. Although she, too, spoke only Japanese, Sister Ilaria, who was now picking up Italian, helped her overcome her linguistic difficulty.

Then, on the 28th June Sister Mary Bernadette Abdilla, a Maltese sister, arrived. She spoke English, Maltese and Italian and so was a valuable addition to the little group.

At on the same day, Mother was again at the airport, after a hurried return at short notice to meet Sr Ortensia Puente, a young Spanish sister, who took the group to a grand total of five.

In 1972 at the request of the Archbishop of Melbourne, the sisters extended their roots from NSW to Victoria and commenced the first house dedicated to the sick and elderly priests of the Archdiocese.

Our mission in Australia continues to grow and we are still able to continue what was started by our first five Sisters. We thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed on us until now.