Archived News Item

Cairns sister recognised for outstanding contribution to Catholic education

Congratulations to Sister Rita O’Malley (Cairns) who is one of seven Queenslanders to receive this year’s “Spirit of Catholic Education Award”. The awards, which recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals within the Catholic education community of Queensland, were presented by the Governor of Queensland, Ms Quentin Bryce, during the official launch of Catholic Education Week celebrations on July 23 in Brisbane. Sister Mary-Ann Lennon (Local Communications Facilitator, Cairns) reports.


Around 800 students, teachers, parents and friends representing Catholic education communities from across Queensland gathered in St Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane on Monday July 23 when Archbishop John Bathersby officially launched Catholic Education Week 2007.

Sister Rita O’Malley, Adult Faith Education Co-ordinator, Catholic Education Office, Cairns, was presented with the Spirit of Catholic Education Award by the Governor of Queensland, Ms Quentin Bryce to recognise Rita’s outstanding contribution to Catholic Education.


Rita was an immigrant to Australia from Ireland, and has spent all her adult life here, in the Diocese of Cairns. Her enthusiasm for learning continued for a lifetime, and she has qualifications in Arts, Education, Theology, Religious Studies, Pastoral Education and Ecumenism. These are not just academic qualifications, but have been enhanced by a person with a reflective and prayerful approach to life – so that knowledge turns into wisdom.


As a Cairns Sister of Mercy, almost all of Rita’s teaching career took place at St Monica’s College, Cairns and Mt St Bernard College, Herberton, and she has served at St Monica’s College as Principal.


Now involved in adult faith education, predominately with teachers in Catholic schools, many hours are spent not just tutoring groups but then following up on a one-on-one basis, knowing that when the topic is theology, it is accompanied by a parallel faith journey that needs supporting.


The dedication and thoroughness with which she does her work has led her to have a large band of followers, whose faith and learning have advanced under her guidance.


From: Sister Mary-Ann Lennon (Local Communications Facilitator, Cairns)


ReadLesson in United Faith“ in the online edition of The Catholic Leader.

Find out more about Catholic Education Week in Queensland.