Sister Anne Gregory

Anne Gregory enrolled as a first year student at St Aloysius College in 1945. She completed her Intermediate year in 1947. In 1950, Anne entered the Convent of Mercy. Her career as a Sister of Mercy was largely centred upon assisting women and their children suffering from the effects of isolation, poverty, and sometimes violence and alcoholism.

In late 1975 and during 1976, Anne, with experience not only in teaching, but also in community development and social work, was part of a Remote and Isolated Children’s Project. Anne, together with a nurse, was based in Port Augusta and travelled along the East-West line as far as Hughes. The two women provided health services and helped the mothers to establish play groups for their small children.

In 1977, Anne became supervisor of the Para District Women’s Shelter and remained in this position until 1983. During this period in 1981, Anne received a Commonwealth Scholarship to research women’s shelters overseas.

Sister Anne Gregory
Beryl Schiller and Sr Anne Gregory (right) with the four wheel drive car and caravan in which they visited families living along the East West Railway out from Port Augusta, 1976. From St Aloysius College Archives

Catherine House, built by the South Australian Housing Trust, was a two- storeyed home with beds for thirteen women for short-term stays of about two months. The women came with a history of mental illness or drug abuse, or of domestic violence or sexual abuse as children. Catherine House opened in 1988 with Sister Anne Gregory as its administrator. By February of 1989, one hundred and twenty women, aged seventeen to seventy, had passed through Catherine House. Many other women had been turned away due to the lack of space.

In “Women on the Move”, Anne McLay quotes Sister Anne Gregory concerning Catherine House and the women it cared for. “ I have developed,” she claimed, “a real love for these women because they have called forth compassion and admiration from me…….I find I am the one who is being transformed, the one who is being taught.”

(Neville Stapleton, St Aloysius College Archivist)