Highways and Byways – a Community of Service is the initiative of the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS). Their motto, “Into the highways and byways”, has taken that community into many areas of Australia, reaching out to people in all kinds of places and situations, from the city to the outback and beyond, always with a pastoral approach and a deep respect for the dignity of every person. Our organisation seeks to support people and projects which express the particular character and spirit that has inspired the work of the Missionary Sisters of Service since 1944.
Highways and Byways started life in 2010 as the John Wallis Foundation, named in honour of the priest who founded the Missionary Sisters of Service. As the work developed, we needed an organisation with a larger outreach, in keeping with what has always been the spirit the Missionary Sisters of Service. Highways and Byways incorporates the vision and mission of the John Wallis Foundation and that of the Missionary Sisters of Service.
Where it all began
Highways and Byways – a Community of Service has its roots in the story of the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) and their founder, Father John Wallis. In 1933 a young, newly ordained priest, Father John was challenged by a cry of the heart from a Bruny Island woman: Why can’t we have Sisters to help us educate our children? Does no one care about us people of the bush? John did care. For the next ten years he thought about it, prayed about it, talked and wrote about it, until a vision emerged of a community of women who would go out into the highways and byways, seeking out people on a mission of love and service. On 8 July 1944, the first little group of women came together to form what became the Missionary Sisters of Service. Over the following 75 years, their outreach grew, not only geographically, but also in the kind of works they undertook, always responsive to the needs of the times. For their fuller story, see www.missionarysisters.org.au.