BUILT ON A HILLTOP: A History of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Western Australia 1902-2002
by Geraldine Byrne
(Perth, 2003, 247pp. Available from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, 52 Ruislip Street, Leederville, WA 6007, tel (08) 9381 3955. Hardcover $55.00, softcover $30.00, plus postage)
The Catholic contribution to the Australian nation has been both significant and inspirational. Catholics, lay and religious, have built this nation by engaging its people at the grassroots level.
No better example of this engagement of the grassroots is the contribution of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Western Australia.
In this beautifully bound and extensively researched volume, entitled Built on a Hilltop, the Sisters' contribution to women in particular is told.
The Good Shepherd Sisters arrived in Leederville near Perth in 1904 and immediately set out to work with women, particularly those who needed the most care.
Their commitment to these young women continued for more than ninety years, despite the usual criticism and hardships that came with the missionary work.
This work has extended in recent times to aboriginal women, women in prison and adolescent girls having difficulty at school.
In reading this volume one cannot help but wonder where many girls would have ended up if it had not been for the work of the Good Shepherd Sisters. Their contribution is significant and author Geraldine Byrne has done her best to highlight the zealous work of the Good Shepherd Sisters.
Anthony Cappello is the Victorian State President of the National Civic Council.