ACU honours HIV/AIDS care pioneer

To honour a lifetime of fighting for others ACU conferred its highest award, Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa), on Sister Angela Mary Doyle rsm AO at a ceremony in Brisbane.

ACU Chancellor The Hon. John Fahey AC bestowed the award on Sister Angela for her pioneering work establishing care for people suffering from HIV/AIDS and for her unwavering commitment, even in retirement, to the mission of the Mater Hospital in Brisbane and to Catholic healthcare as a whole.

Sister Angela addressed the graduating ACU nursing and healthcare students. In a speech sprinkled with wisdom, advice, and humour, she talked about the core values of truth, academic excellence and service.

Despite the fear and uncertainty that shrouded the relatively unknown virus in the 1980s, Sister Angela stepped in to work with the Queensland AIDS Council to personally care for people suffering from the disease. Of that period, she says: “As a Sister of Mercy, I couldn’t stay silent.”

That characteristic determination to fight for others is an ongoing trait throughout Sister Angela’s distinguished career which is highlighted by honours including Queenslander of the Year in 1989 and the Australian Achiever Award from the Prime Minister in 1990.

The Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs presented Sister Angela with the Friend of Foreign Service Medal in 2017 for her notable commitment to the Taiwanese community in Australia. Though her language skills were rusty, she accepted the award in Mandarin. Sister Angela had learned Mandarin at TAFE so she could better help Taiwanese families navigate the healthcare system and to advocate for them.

An administrator at the Mater Hospital for 22 years, Sister Angela also served as the Senior Director of Health Services for the Mater Complex until 1993. The Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame inducted her as a member in 2009.

Beyond her significant contributions to the Mater Hospital, Sister Angela has been serving the common good for decades. In addition to fostering relationships with the Taiwanese community in Brisbane, she has contributed to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation and advocated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health and welfare.

A perpetual student, Sister Angela says: “My life has been one of constant learning.”

Exemplifying the tradition of the healing ministry of the Church, Sister Angela’s lifelong devotion to service and learning through faith has made a tangible impact on countless lives near and far.

ACU will confer Doctor of the University, on four more distinguished members of the community at graduation ceremonies in the coming weeks – Sister Elizabeth Dodds rsc, The Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE GBS and Edward Exell AM.

A dedicated educator Sister Elizabeth will be recognised for her positive impact on countless lives through education and healthcare.

Sir Gerard, Australia’s first Catholic Chief Justice, will be awarded for his passion for justice under the rule of law, integrity, strong commitment to duty and public service.

Mr Exell is being honoured for his service to the Catholic Church and outstanding impact within secondary and tertiary education over a long and distinguished career.


23 – 25 May
The Grand Pavillion, Rosehill Gardens

29 – 31 May
Plenary, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre


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