Congratulations to Sr Mary Shanahan RSCJ OAM , a patron of Catalyst for Renewal, on her recent award, presented by the Archbishop of Sydney, His Grace Anthony Fisher OP, of the Papal honour of Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, at Sancta Sophia College on Friday, 26 May 2023. The award is in recognition of her distinguished services to the Church in the Archdiocese of Sydney and Australia.

Sr Mary Shanahan made her final profession in 1954. She studied at the Universities of Sydney, Yale and Oxford. While she taught in schools in both Australia and France her outstanding contribution has been to Sancta Sophia, a residential college for catholic women within the University of Sydney. (More recently men who are post graduate students have also been welcomed to the College.) Her contribution has extended over 60 years as student, dean, counsellor, principal, fellow and chaplain. The citation for her OAM: For service to tertiary education, and as a mentor of young students.

The current principal of Sancta, Fiona Hastings, summed up Sr Shanahan’s contribution with a warmth which was obvious at the awards ceremony. She’s remembered as a much-loved principal, but since then she’s continued to have a very deep spiritual influence on the college. Really she’s kept the heart of the college beating, and maintained that really strong connection not just with the RSCJs but with the heart of Christ. She’s an amazing woman.

It was pleasing to see some familar Catalyst faces including foundation member Marea Donovan at the award ceremony.