Year of Youth 2018

'Ordinary' Catholics Thrilled with Australia Day Honours

Last edited 28th January 2018

'Ordinary' Catholics Thrilled with Australia Day Honours

Sr Sheelah Frances Mogan, 88, said she was “astonished” to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. The Brigidine Sister who lives in Randwick, Sydney, has been recognised for her long career as a teacher in Catholic schools, spanning almost 60 years.

For the past 15 years Sr Sheelah has helped provide lunch for the homeless every Wednesday at St Canice’s Parish in King’s Cross. She also visits a range of nursing homes around Sydney.

“I can’t believe it,” Sr Sheelah said modestly. “Because I’m very ordinary. Truly, I don’t do anything special. I don’t know why I was selected.”

She expressed hope that she was living up to the dictum of her order that “A Brigidine Sister does ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

Wollongong diocesan priest Fr Francis Phuong Tran of Dapto, NSW, who arrived in Australia as a boat person fleeing Communist Vietnam in 1987, also received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the Church and the community.

“It’s a surprise for me. I feel very humbled and honoured. Because I am a boat person, a refugee and I just do completely ordinary, normal things.”

Greg Whitby, Executive Director of Catholic Education in the Parramatta Diocese, was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his “service to education in the Catholic school system as a leader, administrator, advocate and teacher.”

“I’m honoured and taken aback. It’s a recognition of all the collaborative work, all that work I didn’t do by myself,” Mr Whitby said.

“The thing that drives me is that I want each and every child to have the best possible teacher and the best possible schooling experience.”

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Melania Lui
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Melania Lui wrote at 9:25pm on January 29th 2018
Tena koutou katoa, just wondering what you meant by 'ordinary' Catholics? Is there such a thing? because I think I am and extra-ordinary Catholic! Hear from you