Eighty-eight year-old Brigidine Sister Sheelah Frances Mogan says she is “astonished” to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Days Honours List, The Catholic Weekly reports.
Sr Sheelah, who lives in Randwick 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.”
A number of lay people were also honoured for their contribution to the community through their work, as well as for their volunteer roles with religious congregations or entities.
A list of Catholics featuring in this year's Australia Day Honours List is available here.
Meanwhile, on another Honours front, three Sisters of Charity have been bestowed with the Papal Honour of Croce pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. The Sisters are Sr Anthea Groves, Sr Jacinta Fong, and Sr Sesarina Bau.
The honour, created in 1888 by Leo XIII, is the highest medal that can be awarded to the laity by the Pope. It is a recognition of services done for the Church and its head.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher op, will present their honours to the Sisters on March 9 in the Chapter Hall next to St Mary’s Cathedral. A morning tea will follow the presentation.
Sr Jacinta and Sr Sesarina both continue to minster at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney’s Darlinghurst; Sr Anthea concluded her ministry there just before Christmas.
Sr Sheelah’s story was first published in The Catholic Weekly.
Read more on the Sisters' of Charity papal honours on their website here.
Photo: Giovanni Portelli/Catholic Weekly