In 1902 Fr Brodie, the Parish Priest at Waihi, asked the Sisters of Mercy to set up a new convent and school to help all the Catholic families in the area. Many goldminers and their families had moved into Waihi, and Fr Brodie was worried there was no Catholic school for the children.

Sr Francisca McNiffe, Sr Francis McCarthy, Sr Stanislaus Carmody and Sr Raymond Walsh agreed to move to Waihi to set up a convent and a new school. They named the new school St Joseph’s School.

It took the Sisters two days to travel from Auckland to Waihi. First they had to travel by boat to Thames, then to Paeroa by train, and by coach through the Karangahake Gorge.

When the Sisters were not busy teaching at school, they visited sick people in their homes and cared for the many Catholic families living in Waihi.