Former President of Catholic Religious Australia, Sister Anne Derwin rsj, has been warmly remembered across the community following her death last month from cancer, aged 69, The Catholic Weekly reports.
Sr Anne, who joined the Sisters of St Joseph 50 years ago and was a school teacher for many years, was elected congregational leader in 2007 and guided the Congregation through the canonisation of Australia’s first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.
Current congregational leader Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj said Sr Anne was a person in which great humility and sharp intellect were combined.
“Probably her greatest quality was her hospitality of heart,” said Sr Monica.
“She had a deep love for the Sisters of Saint Joseph and was profoundly committed to religious life. Many people commented on her dedication and commitment, and her lovely smile. She was ordinary and simple but profound.”
President of Catholic Religious Australia Br Peter Carroll FMS remembered Sr Anne’s contribution to CRA, religious life and the nation.
“Sr Anne was a significant leader in the Church in so many ways, a woman of compassion, gifted in her capacity to bring people together, dedicated to the mission of God,” he said.
In 2011 Australian Catholic University awarded Sr Anne its highest honour, a Doctor of the University, for her contributions to education and leadership. ACU vice-chancellor and president Greg Craven paid tribute to Sr Anne as a “much-loved and well-respected member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph congregation and beyond”.
Chair of Mary MacKillop Today John Watkins also expressed his appreciation for one of the organisation’s biggest supporters. “Her enthusiasm for us and our work will be sadly missed,” he said.
In recent years Sr Anne used her leadership skills and expertise as chair and member of several boards and acted as facilitator for religious congregations, especially during their chapters and similar events. In a statement the Sisters of St Joseph said that as her health declined and she became physically weaker, Sr Anne maintained her passion and interest in public and current affairs.
“Even up to her last days, she continued her commentary and reflections on local and world events and, as her illness progressed, her family, friends and religious sisters gathered around her to give her support and share in her wisdom,” they said.
“We continue to live in gratitude for her personal and leadership gifts, her organisational skills, and her sense of prayer and the presence of her God in her life.”
This is an abridged version of an article published in The Catholic Weekly. See the full article here.