Two nuns formerly of Abbotsford Convent get a big interview in The Age

The Age has a big full page spread today on the Convent in general, Catherine Kovesi’s book on the history in Australia of its Sisters of the Good Shepherd, and in particular, two former nuns, Sister Monica Walsh who entered the order aged 18 in 1963 and Sister Noelene White, neither of whom these days live in nunneries or wear habits but are, nevertheless, still nuns. There have been no additions to the order in the past 20 years. It’s really worth a read; I commend it to you.

4 Replies to “Two nuns formerly of Abbotsford Convent get a big interview in The Age”

  1. It’s a pity that people do not know that on one page of this book there are eleven factual errors, errors that caste a very poor light on living persons.I feel so stringly about the injustice done that after trying to rectify the matter by approaching the author, the publisher and the Order to no avail I have written and published a pamphlet correcting these errors. It may be obtained for free by contacting me at my email address

  2. Factual errors ,in a book written ? and published by the Good Shepherd Nuns.??? My goodness,could this be so? You say it contains injustices to persons living , they appear to still live in denial ,as they did all that time ago in my opinion ,I so appreciate your sense of truth and thankyou so much for publishing this pamphlet ,I am looking forward to
    reading it .

  3. I attended the school as a day student from 1959 until 1962 my parents owned the shop in Abbotsford street just down from the school.I feel so upset ,to think of what went on at the convent and as students we were so unaware of what some of our class mates were going through.I remember Sr Bede and some of the others .I studied the piano so spent a large amount of time in the music rooms.I have always thought the nuns were lovely compared with the Mercy nuns from my previous school St Marys in West Melbourne.When we left Abbotsford I returned to St Marys.and was rediculed by the nuns forin their words my inferior education whilst at the Good Sheppard.I was always upset about this as I had enjoyed my time there.Now upon reading about the treatment of the poor girls and women in the convent I feel ashamed that i did not even notice what was happening around me.How could these nuns think that they had the right in Gods name to treat children in this way.It was just a business to them and they used the girls as slaves.I too can remember every friday all os us on our hands and knees polishing the floorboards in the classroom,I think we got of very easily.

    1. Hi Susan

      I also attended St Euphrasia’s and Lourdes Commercial School from 1960 – 1971 as a day student. Mother Bede, who was lovely, taught me in 4th grade and was Principal of the School in that year. I resided in Yarra Street and am curious to know which milk bar in Abbotsford Street did your parents own as there were 3 on the corners of Hunter and Abbotsford Sts (1 being an Italian owner) and then another further up on Abbotsford St closest to the convent owned by a Greek lady Maria? I have fond memories of St Euphrasia’s. However, there were a few nuns who were quite fearsome at times. Both Mothers Thomas and Austin were quite strict and verbally abusive toward their students and I suppose through fear, my education excelled whilst a student in their classrooms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *