Heroes of the Faith

Mother Esther: touched with 'divine power'

Ocotber 2017: Mother Esther - Founder of the Community of the Holy Name

By Sheila Smith Dunlop

October 25 2017Mother Esther established an Anglican religious order for women in Melbourne in the late 1800s dedicated to alleviating the suffering of Melbourne’s poorest. Sheila Smith Dunlop, who wrote her biography, pays tribute to a woman of great courage, compassion and intelligence, whose life was commemorated on 11 September.

My first encounter with Mother Esther, Founder of the Community of the Holy Name, an Anglican religious community for women, was to my mind at the time, a somewhat forbidding photo of her hanging on the wall of the entrance of the Community House built in her memory. This coloured my perception for many years until I began a study of her Community and the women who were her companion Sisters.

It was then that I came to understand what an outstanding, courageous, compassionate and intelligent woman she was. Her firm grasp of theology and her deep spirituality and love of God sustained her throughout a life of responsibility and service to the Church she loved.

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Dr Sheila Smith Dunlop is author of ‘Some Suitable Women: A Study of an Anglican Religious Community for Women: Its Work with the Mission to the Streets and Lanes in Melbourne and Beyond 1888 – 2013.’