THE Canossian Sisters are handing over the operation of their Queensland health, aged-care and retirement services to Ozcare.
The transfer, enacted on December 1, includes an aged-care facility and retirement village at Oxley, and an aged-care facility at Trebonne, in Far North Queensland.
A private hospital and medical centre are also on the Oxley site.
The Canossian Daughters of Charity is an international congregation, and the first of the sisters began arriving in Brisbane from Italy in 1949.
They have transferred the operation of Canossa Health Services to Ozcare, a not-for-profit aged-care provider, after nearly 60 years at the helm.
Ozcare chief executive officer Tony Godfrey said Ozcare was honoured to be entrusted with the continued care of residents within the Canossa facilities and remained dedicated to upholding the esteemed reputation of the Canossian Sisters.
“Canossa shares the purpose and values that underpin the guiding principles at Ozcare,” Mr Godfrey said.
“The sisters’ core values of respect, justice, love and compassion are consistent with our own ethos and values at Ozcare to improve the quality of life of our residents.
“We will continue their legacy and the philosophy of care that is to bring comfort, health and hope to the sick, aged and dispossessed.
“We share a common goal to provide aged and community services in rural and remote locations on a purely mission basis.”
The facility at Oxley opened in 1962, not long after the Canossian Sisters arrived in Australia.
Originally sisters were called to serve in education, but the need for health care was emerging and so with courage and resilience the sisters began the mission of caring for the sick.
They later went on to also serve in various other ministries across the country.
Delegate leader of the Canossian Sisters of Australia Sr Mel Dwyer guided the transfer on behalf of a group of 30 sisters, including many who will maintain a strong presence at each site, providing pastoral care services.
The handover also marked the retirement of two long-serving sisters, Sr Concetta Coppe and Sr Rosanella Ganzetti.
They served for more than 50 years and more than 40 years respectively, caring for residents of the hospital and aged-care facility in Brisbane.
“The original sisters were women of great faith and big dreams, creating this massive entity out of nothing – they had a vision for health care that we have now entrusted Ozcare to continue,” Sr Dwyer said.
“The sisters who built these services from the ground up are in their 70s and 80s, and we don’t have younger sisters coming through who are able to run such a large entity with all of the necessary requirements of the health sector.
“We’ve had to look at what we can do best and that is provide pastoral care in partnership with Ozcare.
“We feel blessed to be able to hand on these wonderful facilities to an organisation with such common values.”
The Canossian presence will still be evident at the facilities, with a number of sisters remaining on site in pastoral care roles at Oxley, two additional sisters providing pastoral care in Trebonne, and another two sisters living in the aged-care facility itself.
“We will leave Ozcare with what they do well so we can focus on other areas of mission and service, with a focus on collaborating with other organisations, including in schools and with migrants and refugees, as opposed to running big institutions,” Sr Dwyer said.