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Sister Marie Kehoe, AMMarch 9, 2006
In some families a belief in the importance of justice and fairness is an heirloom passed down through generations.
You might say then that it was in Sister Marie Kehoe’s nature to help others.
She has had a passion for encouraging others to have the confidence to form an opinion and speak their minds.
Like her mother before her, Sister Marie, 73, of Essendon, decided a career in education was one way of helping people understand and defend their rights.
Starting as a teacher in schools across inner Melbourne and then in tertiary education, Sister Marie became the Director of Australian Catholic University, a position she held for 20 years.
In response to the 1987 shootings in Hoddle and Queen streets, she became a foundation member of the Victorian Community Council Against Violence.
As a member of the Council for more than 16 years, she helped develop and implement new violence prevention programs and build community awareness about the social impact of violence.
“I realised I could play a part in creating a safer community through educating young people”, she said.
Sister Marie’s work within the Council was also influential in changing the way victims of crime are treated by the justice system.
Reform that recognises the importance of factors other than the judicial process in someone’s return to well being.
Underpinning all of her work has been her faith in respect for people and compassion for victims.
“I believe community attitudes develop as we mature and I wanted to teach people respect for one another and respect for other people’s rights in the community.”