Sister Janet Mead

Sr Janet Mead was a student at St Aloysius College from 1943 to 1954 and entered the Convent in 1955. She studied piano at the Adelaide Conservatorium and taught at SAC from 1958 to 1962 and from 1969 to 1981.

In 1963, Sr Janet moved to Mater Christi in Mt Gambier until 1968 and returned to St Aloysius in 1969, where she taught a range of subjects, including Music and Drama throughout the school. Sr Janet produced over twenty full-scale musicals, numerous plays and various musical performances and liturgies. She also ran the SAC orchestra for many years. In 1981, Sr Janet embarked on a year’s sabbatical and effectively retired from teaching.

Sr Janet Mead, photographer Vic Grimmett

In the early 1970’s Sr Janet became involved in ‘Rock Masses’ at Adelaide’s St Francis Xavier Cathedral, aiming to make the Mass more accessible for her students. In 1973 she began making professional recordings of her music for schools and churches and came to the notice of Festival Records. She recorded a rock version of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, which was not only a huge hit in Australia but was distributed to 31 countries and sold over a three million copies world-wide. A music video of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ was filmed at St Aloysius College. Sr Janet donated all her royalties to charity.

In 2004, Sr Janet received the Yamaha Golden Gospel Award in recognition of her services to Australian Christian Music.

In 1985, the Adelaide Day Centre for Homeless Persons was started in Moore Street. Sr Janet, together with other members of the Romero community, were the driving force behind this initiative, a project that eventually possessed an outreach far beyond Moore Street itself. The Adelaide Day Centre assists with emergency housing, runs a mobile soup van and provides an activity program, which includes woodwork, gardening, crafts and living skills.

In 2005, St Janet was named South Australian of the Year acknowledging her commitment to social justice.

Reference

Sister Janet Mead n.d., Milesago, viewed 12 March 2021, <https://www.milesago.com/Artists/janet-mead.htm>.

Stapleton, N 2020, St Aloysius College Archives, St Aloysius College, Adelaide.