Mother Stanislaus Mulhall was one of the early members of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Loreto Sisters, to come to Australia and make her contribution to education.
Barbara Mulhall, one of thirteen children, was born in Dublin in 1851. She became a nun in 1868, receiving her religious name of Mary Stanislaus. In 1883, at the age of 33, she joined the Loreto Sisters in Ballarat and established Loreto Convent, Mary’s Mount’s first orchestra and taught violin and harp.
On becoming Novice Mistress in 1884 Mother Stanislaus became the spiritual guide for novices who went on to give their lives in the service of God in the form of educating the girls of Ballarat and throughout Australia. Mother Stanislaus’ students in Ballarat went on to train at Loreto’s Teachers’ College in Dawson Street and, after 1906, at the Central Teachers’ Training College in Albert Park.
Mother Stanislaus’ deep spirituality combined with her passion for teaching led her to prepare teaching exercises, write spiritual books and give retreats for members of Loreto and the wider community of Ballarat.
On the death of Mother Gonzaga Barry in 1915, Mother Stanislaus Mulhall was elected Australia’s 2nd Provincial Superior. As Provincial, Mother Stanislaus founded the University of Melbourne’s St. Mary’s College in 1918. This College was a long dreamt of achievement, providing education and accommodation for the young women of Victoria pursuing a University education.
Mother Stanislaus died in Ballarat in her favourite month of May in 1923, after spending her life fostering the spirituality of her community and educating women of Ballarat.