Community of the Holy Name, Australia (CHN)

Introduction to the community

The Community of the Holy Name was founded in 1888 within the Diocese of Melbourne by Emma Caroline Silcock (Sister Esther). The work of the Community was initially amongst the poor and disadvantaged in the slum areas of inner-city Melbourne. Over the years, the Sisters have sought to maintain a balance between a ministry to those in need and a commitment to the Divine Office, personal prayer and a daily Eucharist.

For many years, CHN was involved in institutions, such as children’s homes and a Mission house. There were many and varied types of outreach. The Holy Name Girls’ High School was established in Papua New Guinea, and the indigenous Community of the Visitation of Our Lady fostered there.

Today, Sisters are engaged in parish work in ordained and lay capacities, and in a variety of other ministries, including hospital chaplaincies, spiritual companionship and leading of Quiet Days and retreats. The offering of hospitality to people seeking spiritual refreshment or a place away from their normal strains and stresses has become an important part of the life and ministry. The Sisters are now settled in their new accommodation, Esther House, and the Spirituality Centre is becoming very popular for groups and individuals in need of rest and spiritual refreshment.

Contact details

03 9583 2087

Main house:
Esther House 31 Lorna St. Cheltenham, Victoria 3192, Australia

Other houses:
Spirituality Centre, 40 Cavanagh St. Cheltenham Victoria Australia 3192
2/7 James Street, Brighton, Victoria Australia 3186

Community information

Date of foundation:

Bishop Visitor: Most Revd Dr Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne

Warden: Revd Graham Reynolds


Sister Elizabeth CHN, Esther, Mother Foundress, 1948.

Lynn Strahan, Out of the Silence, OUP, Melbourne, 1988.

Sister Sheila Smith Dunlop, Some suitable women, Morning Star Publishing, Northcote, VIC, 2014.

Third Order, Fellowship, Associates

The Order of Oblates is for women and men who desire to lead lives of prayer and dedication in close association with the Community. The Oblates have a personal Rule of Life based on the Evangelical Counsels of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience and renew their dedication annually.

The Associates and Priest Associates support and pray for the Community. Each of these Groups meet regularly at the Community’s House for fellowship and spiritual input. Priest Associates offer the Eucharist with special intention for the Community and seek to promote the Religious Life.


Mother Superior: Carol CHN
Assumed office 12 April 2011, re-elected 2014 & 2017

Assistant Superior: Andrea CHN

Council members: Carol, Andrea, Avrill


Elizabeth Gwen
Josephine Margaret
Sheila Anne

Members who have died since the last Yearbook:

20 Jul 2017 – Maree, aged 86 , professed 61 years
17 Sep 2017 – Pamela, aged 73, professed 46 years
1 May 2018 – Margaret Anne, aged 91, professed 64 years
1 Feb 2019 – Jean, aged 87, professed 26 years