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Founders of Catholic College Sale arrived 125 years ago

28 August, 2015

2015 marks 125 years since the first Sisters of Our Lady of Sion arrived in Sale. Seven sisters of French, Irish and English origin answered the invitation of Bishop Corbett to set up a secondary school in his newly formed Diocese, arriving in March 1890. Initially in temporary accommodation, the first stage of the Convent of Notre Dame de Sion on York St was opened in 1893, with the opening of the Chapel the highlight for the leader of the group, Mother Raphaela in 1901.

The Gippsland Times in August 1901 reported the following extracts of the Very Rev. Father O’Farrell who gave the sermon at the Chapel dedication and who had also been in Sale assisting with the laying of the Foundation Stone 

“it was only nine years since he had been in Sale assisting at the ceremony of laying of the foundation stone of the magnificent institution that had since sprung up as if by magic. … a day not to be forgotten, for the idea of erecting a convent such as had been planned and intended on that day was looked upon by many as a hopeless task, as something that would never be accomplished  

There was in the midst of the little family of Sion a treasure of courage, of confidence and of energy that the people, and even the priests little suspected on that day (Mother Raphaela). Later on, that energy and that courage were revealed ..the people came to know it; they rallied round them; they gave them encouragement and helped them in every way, till, in less than a year after the date to which he had referred the beautiful convent was opened and revealed itself to the public eye as a thing of real architectural beauty, for many who had seen it had been heard to declare that not in any part of Australia in the present day was there a more beautiful, a more perfect, a more striking piece of architecture as a Convent than that which was in their midst. The Bishop, the priests and the people began to understand the treasure that they had amongst them. Visitors who came to the town and saw the Convent and watched the beautiful grounds laid out with such skill and taste, found that it was indeed a holy place, a place where they would desire to see their children trained and brought up in the same cultured instincts that were found in this community. The school began to increase, and when the public examinations were held year after year, the pupils of this Convent came to the front and carried away passes and honours, so that the whole of Victoria began to wake up to the fact that there was here a magnificent educational institution.. a splendid Convent …a refined, a cultured and capable community that could hold its own with the oldest and most distinguished educational establishments in the whole of Australia.     

The Nuns ..in the execution of their design produced something that would be an object of admiration, not only to this district, but would draw visitors from every part of Australia if it were only to see the beautiful niche…  

Not in the whole of Australia was there anything like it, and they were there that day to congratulate the good Nuns on having placed in the midst of them, something that was calculated to complete the education of the children, by giving to their minds an elevation, a polish, and a culture that only a grand and beautiful and tasteful building of this kind was able to achieve.     

On the weekend of the 7th and 8th November the College will open its doors to celebrate 125 years of secondary catholic education in Sale. Put the dates in your diary. An open invitation is extended to the community

Saturday, 7th November 2015 11:00 am - 3:00 pm


  • Afternoon Tea in Front Garden 
  • Entry – gold coin donation

Sunday, 8th November 2015   


  • 9:30 am Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral Sale celebrated by Bishop Patrick O’Regan 
  • 11:00 am Registration and Refreshments at the Sion Campus in the Marcellin Room 
  • 12 Noon Picnic Lunch in Gardens (Reservations Required) 
  • 2:30 pm Prayer Service in Chapel led by Bishop Patrick O’ Regan 

For enquiries please contact the College office on 5143 9700.

CCS Sale Founders 1  CCS Founders 2  CCS Founders 3