30 May: Australian Catholic University (ACU) has awarded two Sisters of the Good Samaritans honorary doctorates at its Brisbane Education Graduation ceremony this week.
Dr Sister Mary Ronayne and Dr Sister Mary McDonald were recognised for their outstanding service to Catholic education.
Dr Sister Ronayne was praised by Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven for her address at the First National Catholic Education Conference in 1972, in which she declared that the Catholic education sector would need to make significant changes to the governance and management structures in place at the time, if it were to move beyond mere survival and to flourish.
Dr Sister Ronayne has been a significant leader, particularly in colleges that have since become part of Australian Catholic University, in addition to her position of superior general of the Good Samaritan Sisters, a position she held for twelve years. She was honoured in recognition of her outstanding contributions to Catholic education in Australia.
Following her education by the Good Samaritan sisters at Charters Towers, Dr Sister McDonald joined the congregation in the nineteen fifties, where she undertook a path of study in areas including the Arts, English and Psychology, which was to be the hallmark of her future teaching and school principal positions; one of lifelong learning.
Dr Sister McDonald has also been an active environmentalist for over three decades, whilst always ensuring that this interest was balanced by her deep faith and rich educational background. She is currently Chair of the Education Council for the Archdiocese of Brisbane, an educational consultant, an international religious consultant, an ethicist, and has had a profound effect on the direction of the Good Samaritan colleges’ social justice programs.
Dr Sister McDonald was honoured in acknowledgement of her outstanding contribution to lifelong learning and community engagement in the fields of education, spirituality, ecology and women’s development.