Sisters honoured for contribution to young people's lives

Two Religious – Sr Patricia Bailey OP and Sr Mary Shanahan RSCJ – have been recognised for their work in education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Canterbury-Bankstown Express reports that Sr Patricia, who was reluctant at first to accept an honour she thinks she is totally undeserving of, is now hoping the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) she has been awarded will bring urgently-needed support for deaf children.

Sr Patricia Bailey OP (Canterbury-Bankstown Express Facebook page)

Sr Patricia Bailey OP (Canterbury-Bankstown Express Facebook page)

The dedicated nun and teacher has been honoured for her service to education, particularly for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

Belfield-based Sr Patricia loves what she does and has made a big impact in the lives of children who have hearing impairments.

“The honour is very unexpected and I was shocked when I was told about,” Sr Patricia told The Express.

“I could not believe it, I thought it was a joke.

“I wasn’t sure whether to accept this or not because there are more deserving people.

“However, if the OAM can help give deaf children a bit of profile, then it will be good.”

Sr Patricia was a director at the Catholic Hearing Impaired Children, Strathfield and principal of Catholic Centre for Hearing Impaired, Waratah.

She teaches deaf children at five Sydney schools, including St Brendan’s at Bankstown, and wants more financial support for the hearing impaired, saying the government has cut funding.

“I hope we get more funding to help the deaf children because we need it,” she told The Express.

“They need specialist teaching help.”

Meanwhile, Sr Mary Shanahan, who was also honoured with an OAM, entered the Sacre Coeur Order in Queensland at the age of 19.

Sr Mary Shanahan RSCJ (Kincoppal-Rose Bay Facebook page)

Sr Mary Shanahan RSCJ (Kincoppal-Rose Bay Facebook page)

She has devoted her life to the instruction and care of others and now aged in her early 90s is still engaged in offering her humanitarian and spiritual services to Kincoppal–Rose Bay School and Sancta Sophia College at the University of Sydney.

In an interview on the Kincoppal-Rose Bay Facebook page last year she said she has a few key inspirations in her life.

“I find inspiration in my faith, in Jesus Christ, Madeleine-Sophie (Barat), Philippine (Duchesne) has begun to inspire me enormously,” she said. “I worked in Rome with a Spanish Sister named Concha Camacho, she really was inspirational.”

Sr Mary said the Sacred Heart philosophy of education has grown out of the congregation’s spirituality.

“Relationships were very important to our foundress Madeleine-Sophie Barat, and I think that’s a very special part of Sacred Heart schools.”