Archived News Item

Sister Rita Honoured for Work with those in need

Two former teachers from Ballarat’s Sacred Heart College were reunited at a special function in Melbourne yesterday.


Victorian Premier Steve Bracks presented Sr Rita Hayes with a Council on the Aging Achievement Award at Government House. Sr Hayes, who knows the Premier’s Mother and taught his sisters, worked at the College for many years. By the time a much younger Steve Bracks had arrived on the scene to teach at the College, she had moved on to take up a higher calling – social work.


It was for her work with those in need in the community that the self-effacing Sr Rita reluctantly allowed herself to be honoured yesterday morning. She was one of seven COTA award winners.


Sr Rita, a youthful 78, whose impressive list of community involvements would give a much younger person pause, founded Lisa Lodge in 1970. Other notable involvements have included Lifeline, Centacare and the Ballarat Refugee Support Group. She is still actively involved in providing direct assistance to East Timorese and West Papuans living and studying in the Ballarat community.


Sr Rita, who stressed her award should be seen as honouring the causes she was involved with rather than honouring herself, noted she had never had a certificate saying she was old before.


“Now if I forget to do something I’ve got an excuse,” she said.


Article courtesy of The Ballarat Courier, September 30, 2006.