November 15, 2016
You are invited to join a birthday gathering which traverses decades as we honour the anniversary of the birth of Julian Edmund Tenison Woods.
"Henrietta and James Woods could never have imagined when they gave birth to their fourth born child on 15 November 1832, the influence for good their son would have on so many people on the other side of the world. Who are the people who have joined us as we honour Julian's memory?
As children together Julian was always protective of me, his younger brother, as we attended school, had lessons from our father or rambled about the countryside. Being a tender-hearted child Julian and I came closer during our mother’s illness and death when Julian was fourteen.
In 1856, I followed Julian to Australia. He was so compassionate to me when my first wife died after five years of marriage leaving me with three little daughters. He was fond of my second wife Sarah and our two sons and corresponded regularly.
Over a period of years Julian generously sent money to help my family when he was able. When I was dying Julian promised to help Sarah and my children and this was an immense comfort to me as was his visit when he returned from his Asian explorations just before I died in 1887.
Throughout our life I enjoyed Julian’s gregarious and affectionate company. He was a loyal, faithful, generous and caring brother.
We considered ourselves fortunate to have had Fr Julian Tenison Woods as our Parish Priest for ten years. Tall, handsome, self-assured, enthusiastic and comfortable with from all walks of life, Fr Woods made easy conversation and we enjoyed his sense of humour. He was a commendable citizen advocating for better roads and mail service and standing up for the Aboriginal people.
He did not stint himself in visiting his parishioners and ministering to them; he cared for their needs, both temporal and spiritual. He also provided pleasant company and musical talents at our social gatherings. We were very fond of him and were delighted and proud when he, in company with Mary MacKillop set up the school at Penola and began the Sisters of St Joseph.
I was nineteen when I first met Fr Woods and we shared our dream of educating children in the knowledge and love of God and through education, providing them opportunities for their future. We were both so delighted when this became a reality in 1866 and I became the first Sister of St Joseph.
I so valued Julian’s spiritual guidance and we worked conscientiously together in Penola and in Adelaide. Fr Woods had such a sense of justice and charity and so we based our work on respect for the dignity of all people. In those early days I so valued his experience (albeit sketchy) in religious life and appreciated his instructions and our spiritual unity and intimate friendship. He was so enthusiastic, optimistic and believed in God’s will yet he could be imprudent and head-strong and he suffered with ill health.
He experienced God as much in nature as in the Blessed Sacrament and the love of Jesus in the Sacred Heart upheld him. He was an inspiration to me and the early Sisters.
Yes, we had our disagreements and he suffered greatly from rejection by a number of people. However, we always referred to each other with affection and I was only sorry that he did not afford me the opportunity of a face to face reconciliation before he died. Yet I can truly say I could not have begun the good work of the Sisters of St Joseph without him and I always loved him and was grateful to him..."
Therese McGarry rsj
View below a visual timeline of Julian Tenison Wood's life.