1 April 2009: Sister Angela Ryan, Executive Director of Professional Standards for the Australian Catholic Church, received an honorary doctorate from Australian Catholic University (ACU) at the Canberra graduation ceremony last week.
Honorary Doctorate Sister Angela Ryan
Sister Angela’s life has been both eventful and meaningful. She trained as a primary teacher at the Brigidine Training College and taught in city and rural schools in Victoria and New South Wales for more than 20 years.
She has also completed two degrees and a Diploma of Education by studying part time in her spare evenings.
Within her line of work, Sister Angela was faced with the harsh realisation that many people have been abused through the Church, a realisation that led to her current appointment as the National Director of the Towards Healing program.
“The Towards Healing program offers a pastoral approach by the Church to those who have been abused. It does not stop people taking civil action, in fact for criminal cases we encourage people to go to the police,” Sister Angela said.
Within this program, Sister Angela seeks to address issues of injustice and move all involved towards a process of healing.
“We have programs in place and have other entities in society to educate people about abuse, the signs of abuse and the effects of abuse so that the whole community is looking to prevention,” she said.
Sister Angela will receive the ACU honorary doctorate, which recognises someone outside of the University for their work.
“I feel embarrassed but honoured to receive this award. There are so many other people who are also working in this area, in education and leadership, who I believe are doing great things,” she said.