House Value: Stewardship
House Image: Healing Vines of Stewardship
Day: 15th August (the date when Mary took her vows at Penola and became Sr Mary)
Penola House is named after Penola, a small South Australian town, 400 kilometres southeast of Adelaide. The town gained international recognition as the workplace and one-time home of Mary MacKillop. In the 1860s Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods shared a dream of providing a free Catholic education for poor rural children. This school would open its doors to everyone without care for social standing or religious affiliation. Putting their trust in God, Mary and Julian co-founded the uniquely Australian, Sisters of Saint Joseph, in Penola. Their dream became a reality that was to transform lives throughout Australia, New Zealand and other countries around the world. "Little did either of us then dream of what was to spring from so small a beginning." (Mary MacKillop 1873)
The Woods MacKillop Schoolhouse in Penola was initially a stable and is now on the Heritage and State Register as a schoolroom museum. It is a very special place where Mary MacKillop's youthful presence can still be felt and is evidence of her commitment to God through a life devoted to others; her vulnerability and self-doubt; her competence as a teacher, her vitality; her sense of humour: her serenity.