Archbishop Goold and the Sisters of Mercy

James Alipius Goold, first Archbishop of Melbourne, went to Ireland to request the Sisters of Mercy to establish a community in Geelong in 1859. The invitation was accepted and five sisters and a novice, including Mother Xavier Maguire, arrived in Geelong on 3 December 1859.

To Mother Xavier and the sisters at Geelong, Archbishop Goold proved to be a true friend and benefactor, visiting the convent often, celebrating mass, assisting with elections of superiors and overseeing professions.

In a letter dated January 25, 1864, Mother Xavier writes to the Baggot St convent,

We had a nice quiet ceremony on the Feast of the Holy Name. Sr. Eliza now Sr. M. Juliana. The ceremony was in the evening, and the Bishop preached a little sermon. He is all we would wish, and does everything to make us happy – most kind to me, and leaves me free to act. Thanks be to God for all His goodness to me and for removing so entirely all my most bitter crosses.

When Archbishop Goold died in 1886, he bequeathed to the Geelong convent his chalice, inscribed with his name and given to him by Pope Pius IX on a visit to the Vatican, and also his embossed silver tea and coffee service.

A legacy of £2338.15.3 from the estate of the late Archbishop was received in 1888 as well as another legacy of £60 and a £50 donation towards the convent cemetery. Also left to the sisters was an alabaster and marble crucifix made by the Italian sculptor Guiseppe Andrea in Pisa in 1856.

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