Who We Are

In 1895 the Sisters of St John of God responded to a request from Bishop Matthew Gibney of Western Australia, to minister to the sick and attend to the pastoral and social needs of the people in his diocese. Eight Sisters responded to that call for help, arriving in Perth on 25th November 1895.

Over the years the original Sisters were joined by other women from both Ireland and Australia, so that the number of Sisters gradually increased. By 1965 there were 328 Sisters in Australia, ministering primarily in Healthcare, Education and Pastoral Care. In response to needs and requests, the Sisters in Australia established and operated ministries in Western Australia, the Kimberley, Victoria, New South Wales, New Zealand, Ireland and Pakistan.

Nowadays, in our advancing years, Sisters have become a powerhouse of prayer “Our spirituality is contemplative in attitude and action” (Constitutions 53). In addition to our prayer ministry, we are engaged in a range of ministries such as counselling, meditation groups, and spiritual accompaniment.


What We Do


Since 1895 the Sisters in Australia have provided excellent healthcare facilities across the continent of Australia. In 1989, the Sisters established the St John of God Health Care System, where all of their facilities were brought together under a central management structure. In 2004, recognizing that their ongoing ability to govern St John of God Health Care was finite, the Sisters established St John of God Australia Limited to ensure, as far as possible, that their health care ministry would thrive into the future. This ministry continues today under a committed lay leadership and St John of God Health Care is now one of the largest Catholic providers of health care services in Australia.


From the early days of their history in Australia, Sisters have been involved in all levels of Education. They established their first school in Perth in 1897 and very soon went on to provide education in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, and the Kimberley region of North-West Australia.

Our Current Ministries

Sisters of St John of God Heritage Centre, Broome

The Broome Heritage Centre is a place for the sharing of social history related to the Sisters of St John of God and Aboriginal people of the Kimberley. It fosters healing relationships between indigenous people through storytelling and the provision of historical resources.

The Open Door, Dandenong

The Open Door offers a safe space for people to explore contemplative spirituality in an environment that nurtures questions of faith and practice without fear of judgement. 

St John of God Retreat Centre, Safety Bay

The Retreat Centre creates a contemplative environment where individuals and groups can enjoy space and time for prayer and reflection. There is also an opportunity for people to deepen their relationship with God through retreats that are offered there.

Collaborative Ministries

A major contribution of the Sisters today is their Ministry Initiative grants project. Working in partnership with other organisations the Sisters sponsor and support a wide variety of charities focussing on the homeless, particularly vulnerable women and children, refugees and asylum seekers - in Western Australia and Victoria.

Our Leadership Group in Australia

Meet the Australian Regional Leadership Team


Una O'Loughlin, Columba Howard, Isobel Moran (Regional Leader), Pauline O'Connor

For more information contact the Australian Regional Office:


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