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Hennessy, Margaret (Sister Mary Clement) (c. 1855 - 1943)

c. 1855
Templemore, Tipperary, Ireland
Religious Sister
Alternative Names
  • Hennessy, Margaret (birth name)
  • Sister Mary Clement (religious name)


Sister Mary Clement was one of the first six nuns to form the Sisters of Mercy at Broken Hill, New South Wales.


The first six nuns to arrive in Broken Hill came from Singleton in the Diocese of Maitland, and founded the St Joseph's Convent in February 1889. They were: Ann Agnes Callen (Sister Mary Josephine), Margaret Hennessy (Sister Mary Clement), Sarah Gallagher (Sister Mary Gertrude), Ellen Dwan (Sister Mary Patrick), Margaret Morris (Sister Mary Ita) and Mary Griffin (Sister Mary Evangelist). Sister Mary Josephine was appointed Reverend Mother of the Sisters of Mercy by Bishop Dunne. Under her leadership, they visited the sick and poor of Broken Hill, provided a home for orphans, and opened five schools in the town by 1896.

Margaret Hennessy (Sister Mary Clement) and her sister Elizabeth (Sister Mary Ligouri) were among four Postulants brought to Australia from Ireland by Bishop Murray of Maitland in the early 1880s. They entered the Singleton Convent on 2 February 1882, and left for Broken Hill in 1889 when Sister Mary Clement was in her mid-thirties. She was appointed Assistant to the Reverend Mother and, as a qualified primary school teacher, was placed in charge of St Mary's School at Railwaytown. Sister Mary Clement was also charged with care of the girls at St Ann's Orphanage, and served as Superior of the South Broken Hill Convent from 1907 to 1908, and 1910 to 1911.

Sources used to compile this entry: Camilleri, Jenny, Some Outstanding Women of Broken Hill and District, Jenny Camilleri (Broken Hill Historical Society/Broken Hill Council), Broken Hill, NSW, 2002.

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