Diary of Laura Francis | State Library of New South Wales

Diary of Laura Francis, 1890-1891

Laura Francis was one of the first Sisters of the People, a movement founded in Sydney in 1890 to revitalise the Central Methodist Mission (now known as Wesley Mission). Methodist minister Reverend William George Taylor (1845-1934) and the Mission's Committee asked the Sisters to keep a journal of their mission work, and Laura Francis began hers on the day of the opening of the Sisters' Home, August 4th 1890. She made two attempts that first day to start the diary; the first incomplete entry is at the back of the journal:

It being the wish of the Committee that each sister should keep a record of her work. Although we have not yet entered upon our regular duty. I want to begin my journal from this opening day.

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Selections from Journal by Laura Francis, 1890-1891
Manscript journal MLMSS 5279


[Page 1]
Laura Francis
240 Forbes St.

[Page 2]
Monday August 4th 1890
Opening of our Sisters Home by Mrs S Cowlishaw at 3 oclock in the afternoon; then tea at the Hall, after that the Dedicatory Service
Tuesday 5th Aug.
Spent the morning at home, In the Afternoon (by the kind invitation of Mrs Vickery) even visited with nine in company with Mr & Mrs Taylor then Blue Ribbon Army Rescue Home
Wednesday 6th Aug
Took a young girl to Mrs Marsh’s Rescue Home. In the afternoon attended Mothers meeting
Thursday 7th
This is our first day at Mission work, I visited in company with Sister Athius thirty one homes, we read & prayed in

[Page 3]
many, some promised to come to our Services, distributed 30 tracts
Friday 8th
Made 13 visits, visited a patient in Hospital, Dist 18 Tracts
Sunday 10th
S. School in afternoon, & Junior class after, twenty boys & girls present.
Monday 11th
Visited 24 homes, gave away 26 tracts
Tuesday 12th
Made our first weekly meeting in Mr Taylor’s offices, I felt it to be a very strengthening [indecipherable], visited Morecliff Hospital 24 homes, tracts 20.
Wednesday 13th
12 visits, 15 tracts, attended Mothers meeting, visited a sick woman
Thursday 14th
Called on two poor woman


[Page 4]
who was quite overcome with bodily weakness & could not get on any further, but had dropped down in the street. Upon talking to her I found that she was trying to get to the steamer, I persuaded her to let me help her, & taking her things & letting her lean on my arm I got her to the boat The poor old thing scarcly knew how to express her thanks. In the afternoon I visited Sydney Hospital
Friday 21st [November]
Went to see the mother of a little boy who was hurt in our Boys Club. I have made 5

[Page 5]
visits & called on two sick women.
Saturday 22nd
Sunday 23rd
Called to see a sick man After Sunday School, I then went to fetch a woman to church who had promised to come during the week. While at church she was lead to see what a miserable sinner she was, but she did not yield that night
Monday 24th
V. Morecliff Hospital & 7 homes
Tuesday 25th
Weekly meeting, made 6 visits, conducted Cottage Meeting.
Wednesday 26th
Two visits, one sick.

[Page 6]
Attended Mothers Meeting lead Junior Class
Thursday 27th
This has been one of my happiest days at visiting The woman who came to Church with me the previous Sunday evening had been thinking over what she had heard their & was very much troubled, she had given away greatly to the drink & I found her very anxious to give it up, after taking & praying with her, she decided to take the pledge, (Also her sister who was staying with her) Poor women, they have seen better days, she told me that she had one sister who was a
[Page 7]
good Christian woman & worked a great deal among the poor, she had often pleaded hard for them; But they would not listen to her now she would not have anything to do with them I could not help feeling (more than ever I felt before what a terrible thing sin is. I had been asked to go & see a poor woman who was in great trouble, over a daughter who had run away from her home, I found her as I had heard & after trying to comfort her & promising to do all I could to help find her daughter I left. In visiting the hospital in the afternoon I was very much blest
[Page 8]
On leaving one of the Wards a poor, sick man called me back, & said “You have prayer meetings in your Hall have you not? I want to ask for your prayers, that I may be able to keep loving my Saviour, I feel it very hard sometimes & I think I will lose my hold of Christ. Do ask them to pray for me.
Friday 28th
Spent most of the day in trying to find traces of the young girl, but could not succeed.
Saturday 29th

Sunday 30th
On returning home from the evening service, found an old woman in the

[Page 9]
Park drunk, & singing to the top of her voice to the amusement of a number of men, after talking to her kindly, persuaded her to let us take her to her home.
Monday 1st December
Visited Morecliff Hospital the remainder of the day was spent in folding Gazettes.
Tuesday 2nd
Weekly meeting, 4 visits Attended Cottage Meeting
Wednesday 3rd
Sis Gannon & I took a poor woman to the Prince Alfred Hospital then attended Mothers Meeting & held Junior Class.


[Page 10]
Wednesday 15th [April 1891] Three visits. Mothers Meeting & Junior class.
Thursday 16th Visited four homes. Hospital in the afternoon
Friday 17th Called to see a sick woman made two other visits & attended open air services.
Saturday 18th
Sunday 19th
Monday 20th to Sunday 26th Week at home Held Junior Class on Wednesday
Monday 27th Morecliff Hospital, four homes. Got word that Mrs Green had passed away during the night went & helped the daughter all I could.
Tuesday 28th Weekly Council, the rest of the day was spent with Miss Green. The mother had got me to promise to stay with her daughter all I could & go with her to the funeral.
Wednesday 29th With Mrs Taylor all day

[Page 11]
Junior class in the afternoon
Thursday 30th Visited four homes in the morning & went to the Mothers picnic in the afternoon
May 1st
Friday Visited five homes & one sick woman
Saturday 2nd
Sunday 3rd
Monday 4th Vis Morecliff Hospital & made four visits
Tuesday 5th Council meeting. Called on Mr Roades who was in great trouble again. Held cottage meeting & visited a woman in whom I feel very anxious about. She is striving to lead a new life, but her old companions will not leave her alone.
Wednesday 6th Visited two homes & went with a poor woman to Darlinghurst Jail, to see her daughter

[Page 12]
this is the same girl who was lost to her mother some few months ago. She has been sentenced to two months hard labour for stealing. The sisters of Mercy had visited her & got her to promise to go [indecipherable] them to Tempie to there Rescue Home when her sentence had expired.
Thursday 7th Helping with the natives all the morning. Visited the Hospital in the afternoon, one poor woman put her trust in Jesus.
Friday 8th This day has been spent with the natives in helping cloth them &c.
Saturday 9th
Sunday 10th
Monday 11th Went to the Zoological Gardens with the natives. & visited one sick in the evening.
Tuesday 12th Council meeting, attended Cottage meeting, Sis Nichols

[Page 13] [Last page of journal written upside down]
Opening of the Sisters Home
Monday August 4th 1890
It being the wish of the Committee that each sister should keep a record of her work. Although we have not yet entered upon our regular duty. I want to begin my journal from this opening day.
At half past 2 Mr Taylor met the sisters in the dining room to arrange several matters of detail
Then came the Opening celebrations by Mrs Cowlishaw then the great