The Presentation Sisters in Tasmania have gifted a significant parcel of land to be used for affordable housing and supported accommodation for vulnerable women, people with disabilities and needy families in the spirit of their foundress Nano Nagle.
Congregation Leader Sr Gabrielle Morgan pbvm, says the Maryknoll property at Blackmans Bay, overlooking the River Derwent, was purchased by the Sisters in 1929 and has been used as a House of Prayer and Spirituality Centre since 1979.
“In more ways than one, Maryknoll has been an important gift in the lives of many people,” she says.
“We Presentation Sisters have provided both staff and finance for its function and maintenance. It is a ministry that we have been privileged to offer.”
Sr Gabrielle says that Nano Nagle committed herself totally to serve the poor in addition to her provision of education, attending the sick and providing accommodation for those who would otherwise have been destitute.
“It has been the ongoing practice of Presentation Sisters in other places to convert properties surplus to need into social housing,” she says.
“In keeping with our charism, the clear vision that is emerging for the Maryknoll site is to use our asset to provide supported accommodation for vulnerable women, people with disabilities and needy families, in the spirit of our Foundress.”
Sr Gabrielle says the Sisters were impressed by CatholicCare’s supported accommodation model and saw the possibilities of entering into a partnership that would enable the realisation of their vision for Maryknoll.
“As Tasmania’s leading housing provider, one of CatholicCare Tasmania’s visions is to ‘encourage hope-filled inclusive communities’,” she says.
“The site at Blackmans Bay will enable CatholicCare to deliver on this vision. The site will be developed to hold private ownership, affordable and social housing and will provide a mixed community to support a range of individuals and families coming together to enhance the community.”
The Kingborough Council last week approved a planning scheme amendment request to rezone the land. The approval paves the way for a development application to be lodged imminently to build about 70 new houses at the site as well as a portion for open space.
Sr Gabrielle says that as the numbers of Presentation Sisters in Australia dwindle, the affordable housing initiative would be a lasting legacy to benefit vulnerable and disadvantaged women and families for decades into the future.
“We see this as part of the legacy of our Congregation to those whom we were founded to serve.”