A graceful day for His Grace
‘Why me?’ volunteer honoured by Queen
“Why me?” says Mrs Anne Burton, of Strathfield parish. “There are so many men and women who do tuckshop duty, ferry people to sports, advise on P&F committees and so on. Volunteers do so many things without any recognition.”
Anne, one of many Cath olics who support the various works of the Church, is one of several volunteers from NSW among the 575 Austra lians recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
She said she was “flabbergasted” to hear she had been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.
“I’ve always said it’s a pity the small people don’t get honours,” she said. “But I was brought up that way.
“You work for the school, then, when the children grow up, you work for the parish.”
She is the ecumenical representative in her parish, St Martha’s, Strathfield, and has been president or secretary of the Strathfield and Home bush Australian Church Women’s Committee for more than 12 years.
“My interest in ecumenism has just grown. There are so many great people in other churches and it is such a privilege to meet them,” she says.
“When I was growing up you didn’t talk about religion, but you certainly didn’t go to one of the other churches, and it’s great that this has changed.”
Margaret Corby of North Albury, has given her energies to St Vincent de Paul and other charitable organisations all her married life.
She was going to decline the nomination for a Medal of the Order of Australia, but her husband persuaded her not to.
“When they wrote and said I may be chosen if I accepted the nomination, I thought ‘I don’t think I will’ because so many people do so much more,” she said. “It was a lovely surprise, but I haven’t got used to it yet.”
Mrs Corby says the best part of her work is meeting people “and also somehow feeling that you can help people a little bit”.
Another St Vincent de Paul volunteer, Mrs Elizabeth Wales, of Young, received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community through her work and fundraising efforts on behalf of charitable organisations.
She has been a member for 15 years – including nine as honorary secretary – of the hospital auxiliary at the Mercy Care Centre in Young.
She also works as a volunteer at Young’s Salvation Army Family Store.
A Medal of the Order of Australia was awarded posth umously to Robert Burke, a St Vincent de Paul Society stalwart in Wollongong. He died in December 2000.
Mr Burke served in leadership roles for the Society’s Wollongong diocesan council, as president of its regional office and as president of the management committee for the Matthew Talbot Hostel over a period of more than 20 years.
Mrs Constance Cloran (Medal of the Order of Australia), organist at St Brigid’s, Marrickville, since 1935, leads the choir and assists the sick, poor and needy of the parish. She also tutors young musicians in the organ, piano and singing.
Mrs Patricia Burke (pictured), Sydney archdiocesan director for Caritas Australia, was “surprised and delighted and honoured” with her award for service to the community through Caritas and Project Compassion, plus other appeals.
“The highlight of receiving the award (Member of the Order of Australia) is the rec ognition of the work of Caritas,” she says. “They do a fantastic job.”
Fr Leo Donnelly, parish priest and Episcopal vicar of education at Port Macquarie, was “somewhat embarrassed” at the news of his award (a Member of the Order of Australia).
“I was getting credit for other people’s work,” he protests. “Those things listed could only have been achie ved through the strong support of the parishioners. But I’m very honoured.”
He is most proud of the parish’s Catholic Care of the Aged program plus its education facilities.
But he is also credited with establishing a nursing home, five hostels for the aged and two retirement villages. And he helped set up a refuge for the homeless, the Port Mac quarie Police and Citizens’ Youth Club and Christo House, a youth refuge.
Dr John and Mrs Jenny Sheehy of Harris Park each received the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the community – Dr Sheehy as a general practitioner and his wife as a fundraiser, and both as
benefactors of the arts and education.
They support Opera Australia, St John’s College, University of Sydney, St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, and St Patrick’s College, Strathfield.
Dominican Sr Patricia Bundock (Member of the Order of Australia) was recognised for founding and co-ordinating the St Martin de Porres community at Wallangarra, Queensland.
She was also involved with St Francis Community in Guyra, a residence for homeless and people with alcohol addictions, and has worked with homeless youths and men in Chippendale, Liver pool and Granville.
Dominican Sr Frances Caine (Member of the Order of Australia), was honoured for service to children with impaired hearing, particularly through the Aboriginal Health Program in the NT, and to education and training.
High-profile Australians to be honoured include current affairs journalist and documentary producer Michael Willesee, who supports Fr Chris Riley’s Youth Off the Streets and St Vincent’s Hospital; Olympic athletics champion Herb Elliott, who won the 1500 metres in Rome; Supreme Court judge Justice Martin Moynihan; former World War II ‘comfort woman’ Jeanne Ruff O”Herne; ex-Canberra Rai ders captain Laurie Daley; sports and radio personality Ray Hadley; retired ABC film critic John Hynde and former Australian Olympic basketballer and Sydney Kings captain Damian Keogh.