Violence at St Vincent’s

There have been many violent incidents at St Vincent’s since the arrival of the Neocats in Redfern, and some have been reported on these pages over the years. Most, if viewed in isolation, might be dismissed as comparatively trivial, but when each is considered as part of an overall pattern of behaviour it becomes clear that there is a serious problem at St Vincent’s.

Several recent incidents can definitely not be classified as trivial, no matter how they are viewed.

On Tuesday, 11 March 2008, an elderly nun, who has worked tirelessly with the marginalised for many years, was physically attacked in the church before the 9am Mass.

Before the assault the attacker addressed the assistant parish priest, sitting in one of the front pews, finishing off with “Forgive me father, for what I am about to do”.

Immediately after the assault a young lad clapped his hands gleefully, crying out words to the effect that “she deserves this for she hates our priests”.

The assault was reported to the police by staff from the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) next to the church.


In response to this incident, a parishioner offered the following Prayer of the Faithful at the Easter Saturday vigil Mass:

Pray for the victims of violence; of physical and mental abuse.

Forgive the violent, driven by angers they often cannot comprehend.

Forgive those who engineer divisions in communities,
those who turn the weak and disabled against their friends,
those who poison the minds of the vulnerable, filling them with hatred, loathing and anger that turns into violence.

Pray for S;
for those that struck and reviled her in this Church;
for those that stood by and ignored what they had set in motion.


The elderly nun was attacked again after Easter by the same person. This time the assault happened in the space between the AMS and the church. It was recorded by the AMS’s security video cameras and reported to the police.


A few Sundays ago, the same battered and bruised nun was told by an occasional blow-in from Neocat HQ in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt that she should “go back to her convent”.


Earlier this week another parisioner sent the following email (with minor edits to provide additional context and to remove some details about the attacker). Item 1 is directly related to the assaults. Items 2 and 3 refer to some of the day-to-day low level violence inflicted on the community.

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