The Missionary Sisters of Service Scholarship will be awarded for the first time in 2024 to mark the 80th anniversary of the order’s founding.

Made possible by the generous support of the Missionary Sisters of Service, this scholarship will fully cover the recipient’s tuition fees for postgraduate study at the University of Divinity ($19,032 per full-time year at 2024 rates) and also provides a $10,000 annual living allowance. The scholarship is available for a fixed period of two years.

The Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) is a Roman Catholic religious congregation founded in 1944, in Tasmania, by Father John Corcoran Wallis, who had discerned an unmet need for pastoral support in Australia’s rural and isolated areas. Since then, MSS sisters have served and supported communities around Australia, expressing their call to mission by being with people and the whole of creation in the ordinary everyday of life, carrying out this mission in myriad ways.

With most of the sisters now at retirement age, the MSS continues its outreach to those experiencing disadvantage, inequality or isolation through its Highways and Byways agency, which awards small grants and establishes longer-term partnerships designed to strengthen community relationships and networks, develop local leadership and empower people to meet the challenges confronting them in a spirit of ‘healing the land, healing ourselves, together’.

The purpose of the Missionary Sisters of Service Scholarship is to support theological education and pastoral leadership in Australia that is consonant with the vision of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on ‘care for our common home’, which addresses matters of integral ecology, ecological education and spirituality, and calls all people to action on environmentalism and climate change.

The scholarship will be awarded to a female candidate who is eligible for admission to a postgraduate coursework award at the University of Divinity. She must have the capacity to make a contribution to the future of theological education or pastoral leadership in Australia that is consonant with the vision of Laudato Si’. Preference may be given to candidates who are enrolling through Yarra Theological Union or Catholic Theological College; are intending to study full-time; are under 40 years of age; and/or have not previously studied at the University of Divinity.

Applications close on 31 October 2023 with the outcome to be advised by 30 November 2023.

In addition to the application form details, each applicant must submit:

  • a statement of up to 500 words responding to the criteria and explaining her intended postgraduate course of study for the next two years
  • a letter of support from an academic dean or equivalent, confirming that the student meets the eligibility criteria for the proposed postgraduate course of study.

Selection of the scholarship recipient is decided by the Missionary Sisters of Service Scholarship Committee, and short-listed applicants may be requested to attend an interview.

At the conclusion of the scholarship term, the scholarship holder will be required to submit a closing activity report to the Missionary Sisters of Service Scholarship Committee. Opportunities may be made available for scholarship recipients to meet with the Missionary Sisters of Service.