Ellen Whitty (1819 – 1892) Catholic social worker
Ellen Whitty established twenty-six Mercy schools, mainly along the Queensland coastline to Townsville, which had 222 Sisters and 7000 pupils. At Nudgee there was a Mercy Training College for teachers. Ellen Whitty had commenced a secondary school many years before the state entered this field.
Ellen Whitty, best known as Mother Vincent, Mercy Sister, was born on 3 March 1819 near Oilgate in County Wexford, Ireland, daughter of William Whitty and his wife Johanna, née Murphy.
In 1860 Mother Vincent and five Sisters were invited by Bishop James Quinn to become the first women religious in the newly formed diocese of Queensland.
In 1870 on Quinn’s instructions she returned to Ireland to recruit nuns and he appointed her assistant to the Queensland head of the Order, an office which she retained until her death.
Her schools flourished though some of her projects did not, notably a hospital and work with Aboriginals. At her death, twenty-six Mercy schools, mainly along the coastline to Townsville, had 222 Sisters with 7000 pupils. At Nudgee there was a Mercy Training College for teachers. Mother Vincent had commenced a secondary school (All Hallows’) many years before the state entered this field.
She duplicated in Brisbane the types of social work she had pioneered in Dublin, and provided a link between all forms of service in regular home visitation. She died in Brisbane on 9 March 1892 and was buried in Nudgee cemetery. Her work has stood the test of a century of change.
Sisters Of Mercy History
Mother Vincent 1819 – 1892 Mercy Sister
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