Pat was born into Dominican life. She was baptised at Rosary Dominican Church and lived with her parents and five siblings in the Prospect Dominican parish.
Her education began at Rosary Parish School and then continued at St Dominic’s Priory College. Following the completion of her secondary education Pat entered religious life with the Dominican Sisters of North Adelaide.
Pat was passionate about education; her own and that of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young women who she helped to educate.
She was involved in many aspects of education, including as a teacher, especially of the French language, and as acting principal and deputy principal at St Dominic’s Priory College. Following her time at St Dominic’s she was asked to become the principal of Siena College (now part of Nazareth College).
Pat’s professionalism, her attention to detail and her quick wit earned her the respect and affection of both colleagues and students.
While working in various education roles Pat continued with her own academic studies. She gained a first class Honours degree from the Adelaide University, majoring in the French language. As a teacher of French, she visited France with her French students on a number of occasions. Later she enjoyed a sabbatical in France where she continued her own study of the French language and culture. These excursions resulted in lasting friendships, with other language teachers both in France and in SA.
Pat also took every opportunity to grow her understanding of scripture and theology. She pursued her studies in these areas, both in SA and overseas. Pat’s passion was feminist theology. She was a member of the Bishop’s Executive Committee, established during the 1990s, to research the role of women in the Australian Church. This research required her to visit many parishes throughout Australia. The research results were significant for women. They were published and then, unfortunately, filed away in a drawer somewhere never to see the light of day again!
Due to her professionalism and educational experience, Pat was approached to become a member of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools. She was also appointed to the SA Government’s Independent Schools Registration Board. Pat served on both these entities for several years. On retirement she received a formal acknowledgement and thanks from both Catholic Education SA and the SA Government.
Pat was elected Congregation leader on three occasions. During this time, she was just as committed to Congregational leadership as she had been to educational leadership. She faithfully attended the various religious leaders’ meetings – locally, interstate and overseas. Pat was the SA representative for the national council for religious for six years. During that time she also served on the St Dominic’s Priory College Board. She was chair of the Board during her first two terms of leadership and then again when she was elected to leadership for a third time.
Pat brought the same expertise and professionalism, and sharp wit, to her role as chair. She was fortunate too in leading a very capable and generous group of people in the governance of the college.
When she finished her term in Congregational leadership, she continued to pursue her love of academic studies. She completed a Master degree in Theology from Flinders University. Again, consistent with Pat’s academic results throughout her career, she gained a distinction for her thesis called ‘Remembering: The Tomb: A Site of Memory in the Gospel of Luke’.
Aside from her many leadership roles and her fine academic achievements, it was Pat’s personal qualities that enriched everything that she did. When asked to take on leadership roles she generously accepted all of them, however this was not with any intention of promoting her own importance or constructing a career path. She was a woman of great integrity and in everything that she did she was committed to the good of the task and never to the promotion of her own importance.
As a Dominican community member Pat also showed generosity and great attention to detail. She was outstanding in her commitment and loyalty to the everyday community tasks. Whether it was in the preparation of a meal, organising and preaching at a liturgy, sorting out the community refrigerator or slicing the ham on Christmas Day, Pat did everything with perfection.
She was especially kind and compassionate to her Dominican Sisters, and particularly to Sisters living in nursing homes. Pat always visited them, taking with her a small gift for each one. Whatever their state of mind, Pat showed them concern and genuine affection, attributes that are a true measure of her innate goodness.
Taken from the eulogy by Sr Shirley Macklin OP, Congregational leader of the North Adelaide Dominicans.
Jump to next article