Australia Day Award for Sr Maureen


 Sr Maureen was awarded the Citizen of the Year award by the Paroo Shire Council during the Australia Day Celebrations this weekend.

Maureen is the Pastoral Leader in Cunnamulla, an isolated rural centre in the southwest of Queensland. The Parish Priest who cares for a number of parishes in the region lives in Charleville, so Maureen is the on-site pastoral presence for the parish. Cunnamulla is about 800 kms from Brisbane.  Maureen embraced the move to Cunnamulla in 2011 after completing her term as Australian Leader. During her time there, as well as her pastoral care of the local community,  Maureen also worked as a Social Worker in the local hospital. She also set up a second hand clothes and goods “shop” which helps to fund the parish and its activities and provides clothings at affordable prices.

When some of the Sisters visited Maureen earlier in the year a walk through the town showed how well liked and respected Maureen has become.  Everyone they passed stopped and had a chat to Maureen and had a nice word to say about her.  One of the local hotels even opened the kitchen just for her when they arrived for Sunday lunchnot knowing meals were not served on that day!

Cunnamulla is hot and dry at present with very little useful rainfall received for many months. In the past few weeks temperatures have been between 40 and 45 degrees Celsius (104 – 113 Farenheit). Maureen continues the tradition of over a century of religious women living in Cunnamulla.  The Sisters of Mercy lived in Cunnamulla for many decades, establishing the local Catholic school in 1915 and caring for the local community in many ways.

Congratulations Maureen!  It is wonderful that your presence and skills have been recognised with the Citizen of the Year award.