St Patrick's Women's Guild 1966 - 2016

Fifty years ago, Fr Thomas Purcell, parish priest of Singleton, called a meeting of the women of the parish to form what is known as The St Patrick’s Women’s Guild. 

We have two inaugural members; Joan Cox and Elaine Thomas.  The first president was Flo Drinan. There were 75 ladies in the first year. The group was formed  to represent the Catholic community at other denominations’ functions and various activities in other organisations such as CWA, Red Cross, Hospital Auxiliary and Quota, just to name a few.

The Guild decided to expand its activities to include fundraising for various worthwhile causes.

The fundraising events took the form of MelbourneCup gatherings which were held in the convent grounds. The first one was held in 1967; admission was 30c, sweeps 20c and 50c. Afternoon tea was included and the sum of $85.80 was raised. Theatre parties were held at the Strand Theatre. This involved movie viewing and supper. Cake stalls were held on the corner of John and Pitt Streets; large sponge cake 60c, butter cake 65c, cupcake 5c!

We also held garden parties in the presbytery grounds.  Money raised went to help refurbish and redecorate the presbytery.

Over the years since our inception, we have participated in various activities in the community. Between 1967 and 1977 we made the decorations for the Catholic Ball which was held in the NAA Pavilion. From 1968 and for many years we helped at the Whitmore School Annual Fete and the Elizabeth Girls Home Fete. In 1968 we were asked to deliver “Meals on Wheels” each Thursday. Some of our members still carry out this service. We now offer refreshments following funerals at the request of families.

From 1972 we also were involved in the World Day of Prayer Service when it was held at St Patrick’s Church.  We also participated in the Festival of Flowers.

With the money raised we have made possible such things as refurbishing the presbytery and St Augustine’s Hall. We have sponsored the education of a Papuan student, and supported an overseas student through the St Vincent de Paul Society.  We have donated money to such causes as the Villa Maria Home for unmarried mothers in Maitland, the Convent of Mercy Novitiate, Mercy Nursing Home, Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets and the  Right to Life organisation, St Patrick’s and St Augustine’s Churches and Cooinda.

We administer a Bereavement Program which involves visiting next of kin of the deceased.  This happens within the first month of the death and at the first anniversary, the relatives are invited to attend Mass where their loved ones are remembered.  They also receive a candle in their memory.

There have been many more activities than I have mentioned. The minute books and membership books are available detailing the history of the Guild.

I would like to thank all parishioners who have helped us in our ministries over the years.

An invitation is extended to anyone who wishes to celebrate with Guild members. The celebration is to be held on 16 April commencing with Mass at St Patrick’s Church at 11am followed by lunch at Singleton Diggers, York Street, Singleton. Tickets are available ($25) from Ultimate Underwear, 85b John Street, Singleton or contact Elaine Thomas, 21 Henry Drive, Singleton Heights.  P 6573 2966 or 0408 684 453.

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