‘Sion’ (or ‘Zion’) is the ancient name for the mountain on which the great Temple of Jerusalem was built, the spiritual home of the Jewish people for many centuries.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Sion were founded in France in 1842 by Fr Theodore Ratisbonne and a small group of women. Through his studies, and guided by his patron, Mrs Louise Humann, Theodore slowly made a decision to become a Catholic.
Theodore wanted to raise people’s quality of life through education, and began a school to educate the young. He wanted the Sion family to be respectful of each person in all their diversity and to be united in love. Several women who came to assist him in this work chose to dedicate their lives to God, forming the first congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Sion.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Sion came to Australia in 1890, invited by Bishop Corbett of Sale, and moved to Warragul in 1903 to provide a Catholic education for the young ladies of the area. The convent school was started in the Witton Street building now occupied by the Catholic Education Office and renamed Sion House.
The Sion Sisters have continued to have a special place in their hearts for the Jewish people and work hard through education and Scripture study to promote a better understanding between the Christian and Jewish communities. They have a commitment to building a world of peace and justice, and greater understanding between all faiths.