Marian College is one of seven Kildare Education Ministries secondary schools in Victoria and South Australia which holds the Brigidine Tradition as a valuable and significant part of its heritage. The Brigidine Sisters were re-founded in 1807 by Bishop Daniel Delany, Bishop of Kildare.
The Brigidine Annals record that Bishop Delany was not founding a new Congregation but rather restoring “the ancient order of Brigid”. At this time the Irish were just beginning to emerge from the penal period during which ignorance and poverty were wide spread. When Irish Catholics were denied an education, their language was outlawed and they were often forced from their homes. Bishop Delany was deeply concerned about the enforced ignorance of many of the people who were also living in very poor circumstances. He saw the need for people to have the rights and beneﬁts of a Christian education.
The original Brigidines were founded in the ﬁfth century by St Brigid in Ireland, and continued until the period of the Reformation. St Brigid of Kildare became a legend in her life time. She held a unique position in the early Irish church and society of her day. As Abbess, she presided over the local church of Kildare and was leader of a double monastery of men and women. Her abbey was acclaimed as a centre of education, culture, worship and hospitality in Ireland and far beyond.
In writings of Brigid the main emphasis is on her faith, her healing powers, her skills with animals, her hospitality, her generosity and, especially, her concern for the poor, the oppressed or the embarrassed.
The Brigidines were among Irish Religious Congregations responding to a call from the Bishops of Australia, for pastoral support and assistance to establish Catholic schools. The Brigidine Sisters came to Australia in 1883 and established communities in Coonamble (NSW) and in 1889 In Echuca. This began the Brigidine Australian story.