Sr Marion McDonald Honoured
On May 19, Marion McDonald rsm was presented with the Ballarat Diocese Schools Advisory Council Outstanding School Service Award at the Catholic Education Leadership Awards 2017.
The award, honours her service and leadership in Catholic education across the Ballarat Diocese through her roles as a teacher, principal and parish leader.
“I find the award incredibly humbling,” says Sr Marion. “I certainly haven’t done this for the award, but as a Sister of Mercy for God and for the people; however, it was lovely to be recognised. It was also nice to be able to spend an evening with people I have met and worked with over the last 30 years.”
Sr Marion entered the order in 1951, after being impressed with the service, compassion and dedication of the Sisters of Mercy at Sacred Heart College, Geelong.
Some three years later, Sr Marion began her teacher training, starting out in various primary schools in Victoria and much later became involved in secondary education. Her passion and commitment to education was highlighted when after only 10 years as a Sister of Mercy, Sr Marion became Principal at St Mary’s School, Seymour.
Her love and passion for the ministry of schools has been steadfast throughout her journey.
“I remember meeting Mother Teresa in the 1980’s,”says Sr Marion. “Another Sister I knew asked her, ‘Mother, should we Sisters move into more ‘social work based’ apostolates because there are so many great lay teachers entering education’.”
“Mother Teresa answered, ‘Stay in your schools Sisters, help the children to become happy and help people to know God and we will not have the social work to do’.”
Sr Marion’s love of the ministry of school is supported by a genuine desire to help children grow to be happy people who know and love God.
This year has seen Sr Marion’s retirement from school ministry and upon retiring, Sr Marion was also honoured by the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School community, Merbien, who acknowledged Sr Marion’s love of reading by naming the school library after her.
“I want to thank God and all of the people who have supported me throughout my journey and enabled me to live out my religious vocation happily,” says Sr Marion. “When I was a young Sister in the order an older Sister said to me, ‘this is not a natural way of life. You can only live poverty, chastisty and celibacy happily with the support of a loving family and a loving community’.”
“So thanks to God, to my family and my loving community who have enabled me to live my life and be faithful to my commitment as a Sister of Mercy.”