Religious Communities

Parish’s Name:

St Francis Xavier’s, Narrabri

Religious Communities throughout the Parish’s history:

  • Sisters of St Joseph – 1882-1888
  • Sisters of Mercy – 1889-1970
  • Sisters of St Joseph – 1970-?

Sisters of Mercy


Dr Torreggianni, Bishop of Armidale, requested that the Sisters of Mercy take over the primary school in Narrabri from the Sisters of St Joseph who had founded it in 1885. Although there were only four professed Sisters in the Gunnedah community, two went to Narrabri in January 1889. The Sisters maintained the primary school at Narrabri West to which the two Sisters travelled daily by train in the earlier days. In 1929 the enrolment was 160 in the primary school in town, 30 students in the high school and 80 students in the Narrabri West school.

Sisters of St Joseph


Catholic education in Narrabri seemingly was established by the Sisters of St Joseph in 1882, with an enrolment of 35 pupils. The parish had been formed in 1880 with Fr J Doyle the parish priest. From the Josephite records however, it appears that the beginning was not as well planned as at Tenterfield and Inverell. Apparently Fr Doyle who was extremely good to the Sisters, vacated with house till a convent was built. The correspondence concerning Narrabri, however, does not start until some three years later, when on 11 June 1885, Bishop Torreggianni wrote to Mary MacKillop: “The Narrabri people are going on with the convent building as fast as they can. My wish is to see the Sisters comfortable, that is the reason for the delay.

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