Sister Mary Evangelist Duggan

Sr. Margaret Evangelist Duggan 1859-1951Sr. Mary Evangelist Duggan was born in Lisnaboy, Millstreet, on 15th August 1859 and was named Margaret by her parents, Cornelius Duggan, a merchant, and his wife, Margaret (Hickey). At the age of 16 she travelled to Australia on board the Samuel Plimsoll, as an assisted migrant, occupation dairy maid, arriving on 22nd October, 1875 and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph at Perthville on 1st November 1875 where she was known as Sister M. Bridget. She was received on 7th April 1876 and professed on 15th August 1877, her eighteenth birthday. She renewed her vows in Perthville on Christmas Day, 1879. She was chosen by Mother Benedict Hickey (originally from Tooreenbawn, Millstreet) to lead the founding community to Goulburn, arriving on 13th August 1882. She made her final vows with Sr. M. Ignatius, another of the founding group of sisters, in Goulburn on 8th July 1884. Sr. M. Teresa Fallon, also in the founding community, renewed her vows on the same day.
Sr. M. Evangelist led the Congregation from 1882 to 1892. She died in Goulburn on 3rd March, 1951, aged 91. She had been in NSW for 75 years. Her funeral was on 4th March 1951 with Fr. Laurie Gallagher as chief celebrant. She is buried in St. Patrick’s cemetery, Goulburn. 

Goulburn Founding Sisters


Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart Goulburn – The Early Days

The Sisters of Saint Joseph arrived in Goulburn on 13th August, 1882. The first five Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Goulburn by train from Bathurst. They were:

  • Sister M Evangelist Duggan (Irish, aged 22 years) – the leader.
  • Sister M Ignatius OBrien (Australian born in Campbelltown NSW, aged 27 years)
  • Sister M Teresa Fallon (Irish, aged 21 years)
  • Sister M Patrick (Irish, aged 20 years)
  • Sister M Joseph Cahill (Irish, aged 18 years)

Upon arrival, the Sisters lived in a cottage in Lagoon Street which belonged to the Sheekey family. They lived there until 5th May, 1883 when the Convert was opened. The Catholic Freemans Journal of 19th August, 1882 describes the arrival of the Sisters in Goulburn: “On Saturday evening by the five oclock train five Sisters of St. Joseph arrived from Bathurst. On reaching the cottage prepared for them at North Goulburn they were met by a number of Catholic ladies of that portion of the town who, during the day, were busy in putting the temporary Convent in order and preparing a dinner for the Sisters. They have met with a hearty caed mille failthe from the people of North Goulburn. who hailed with delight the advent of a religious community among them. The ground for the Convent being secured beside the new Church, tenders for the erection may be called for any day.”

— Goulburn – The Early Days


THE BISHOP: Speaking at the close of the after noon’s entertainment, Bishop Barry expressed his pleasure at being present. He congratulated the teachers and the children on the wonderful results achieved during the year. It was with great pleasure that he saw the founder of the convent, Sister Mary Evangelist, who could see the progress made by the Sisters. She was now witnessing her 55th display In Goulburn and her 60th in the community (applause).

Goulburn Evening Penny Post (Dec 7 1937)


Sister Mary Evangelist Duggan

On Saturday last Sister Mary Evangelist Duggan died at the Sacred Heart Convent, North Goulburn. Three-queerters of a century ago, leaving all, she sailed from Ireland in the “Gainsborough” to cast in her lot with the pioneer band of Diocesan Sisters of St. Joseph, founded by Father Julian Tenison-Woods at Perthville. Several towns in the then extensive diocese of Bathurst were the scenes of her labours, until in 1882 she was chosen to lead the small band of Sisters of St. Joseph to Goulburn and to be their first Superior, a post she filled for a number of years, during which she saw the Order flourish and send out members to found several Branch Houses. Sister spent many years, in these branch houses, and retired from the active life  of teaching in 1927.
Keen of intellect she kept a remarkable interest in current affairs and especially in the growth and activities of the congregation. Up to a few weeks ago she/was to be seen in her place in the Chapel every morning, and quite conscious she received the Last Sacraments a few hours before she died.
On Sunday afternoon many friends of the deceased Sister were present at the obsequies conducted in the Convent Chapel by. Very Rev. Fr. Gallagher, Adm., assisted by Rev. Fr. Conway, and as the funeral cortege moved to the cemetery at Kenmore, the students of the College formed a guard of honour outside the Chapel. The prayers at the graveside were read by the Very Rev. Fr. Gallagher,
Adm., assisted by the priests of the Cathedral staff, Very Rev. Fr. Raymund, CP.P. (Marrickville), and Rev. Fr. Egan (Turalga).
Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Chapel of Our Lady of Dolours on Monday morning, Rev. Fr. Dowd being the celebrant; Rev. Fr. Conway, deacon and Rev. Fr. Weissel, sub-deacon. Rev. Fr. Conway was the Master of Ceremonies, and the Mass for the Dead was sung by the Novices Choir.
Among those present at the Mass Were Very Rev. Fr. Gallagher, Adm., Rev. Fr; Favier, Rev. Fr. Crowe, Rev. Fr. Norbert, CP. (Mary’s Mount), and Rev. Fr. Lohan (Bombala), the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of St. John of God.

— Goulburn Evening Post (12 Mar 1951)


Even though she has very specific date of birth, I was unable to find the registry entry in the Millstreet parish register which is unusual 🙁

She was of a family of five(+). Her siblings were:

  • Andrew Duggan(may 1855–1948) – baptism (It was Andrew who originally set up Duggan’s shop / hardware at the bridge in 1875). He married Johanna Buckley in 1898
  • Denis Duggan(1857–) baptism
  • Mary Duggan(1861–) baptism
  • Ellen Duggan(8 April 1864–) – Baptism:6 Apr 1864 ; birth; Married Andrew Hickie in 1890

Note: there is a profile of her on




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