The congregation of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict
was founded in Sydney by the first Archbishop, John Bede Polding, OSB on 2 February
1857. The foundation was made in response to a particular need in the growing colony
of New South Wales, then in its sixty- ninth year.
Archbishop Polding, a Benedictine monk, instructed and cared for the sisters in
the difficulties of the early years and gave them their Rules, which he based on
the spirit of the Rule of St Benedict. His opening words in the Rules show the
adaptability of the Congregation to times, places and needs.
"This congregation of Religious is designed for the practice of the spiritual
and temporal works of charity, under the guidance of holy obedience, according
to the Rule of St Benedict. Therefore, as directed by their Superiors, they are
ready to teach in schools, to visit and assist the sick in their own homes and
in hospitals, to instruct ignorant persons in the faith, to conduct orphanages,
to reform the lives of penitent women, and to apply themselves to every other charitable
Throughout the history of the Congregation, it has been the evident needs of the
Church which have determined the particular activities in which the Sisters have
engaged. As the needs of the Church changed the congregation has been called
to meet new challenges.
They have responded with the adaptability desired by Polding when he asked them
to be ready to apply themselves to “every other charitable work”. The
Congregation is now involved in primary and secondary education, in teacher education,
catechetical work, parish ministry, youth ministry, care of the socially handicapped,
education of the intellectually handicapped and work with prayer and retreat groups.