St Bernadette's Parish - Sunshine North

Augustinian Sisters – Servants of Jesus and Mary


The Augustinian Sisters who first came to Sunshine North in 1957 to work at our Parish School are still active in our community, and are heavily involved in parish work which includes visiting the sick, bereavement counselling, catechism classes, adult faith education, retreats and spiritual guidance.

Maria Teresa Spinelli, Foundress of the Augustinian Sisters for whom the old convent is named was born in the centre of Rome on the first day of October 1789. She was the youngest of a family of nine children, of whom only four survived. At sixteen she was married but was often beaten by her husband, but Teresa managed to suffer in silence and offered everything for his conversion. Fortunately, authorities intervened and the young woman was ordered to live separately from her husband but by this time she was pregnant to him. Once more living with her parents, she gave birth to Maria Domenica and her financial status led her to work as a ‘wet nurse’ with a noble family, later becoming governess to their daughter.

On the first day of November 1820 she had a vision and received the call for evangelisation. She wished to open a school at Ferentino where she was already well know, but while praying she heard a voice telling here ‘it is not in Ferentino that I desire you , but in Frosinone’. That is where she opened her first school for girls in 1821. On 23 September 1827, she founded the Congregation of the Augustinian Sisters, Servants of Jesus and Mary with the specific purpose of the education and Christian formation of children. After a life dedicated to the service of God and her fellow humans, she died on 22nd January 1850.

The mission begun by this simple woman filled with courage and the love of God has spread over the five continents. Today, the Augustinian Sisters Servants of Jesus and Mary continue to live the Spirituality and Charisma of Teresa Spinelli.

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