Sr Shanahan recognised for her service to education and mentoring of young students

The whole community of Sancta Sophia College warmly congratulates Sister Mary Shanahan RSCJ OAM, who has been recognised for her immense contribution to society with a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2019. 

Sr Shan is awarded the Medal for her service to tertiary education, and as a mentor of young students. Her connection with Sancta Sophia College extends over 60 years:

  • Chaplain, current.
  • Honorary Fellow, since 1992
  • Principal, 1983-1992.
  • Councillor and Vice-Principal, 1959-1967.
  • Dean of Students, 1957.
  • Arts Student 1955-1957
  • Arts Teacher, 1955-1957.


Capturing what Sr Shanahan means to our Sancta community, a former student Elizabeth Hannan said the following at the celebration of Sr Shan’s 90th birthday:

“She is lion-hearted, though small in stature…The Shan we love understands that young people can be thoughtless and self-absorbed – and she forgives us, though we aren’t so young anymore. She is gentle, and humble, and funny, and so wise. Above all, she has grace – and, for many of us, she is as close to God on this earth as we have ever felt.”


Sr Shanahan has had a distinguished career as a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart:

  • Coordinator of Integrating Faith and Life Program, since 2010.
  • Staff and Parent Resource Consultant, Claremont Cottage, since 2002.
  • Staff and Parent Resources, Kincoppal0Road Bay School of the Sacred Heart, 2005-
  • Former Board Member, Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart.
  • Superior, Karlaminda/Kensington Hostel, 1993-2000.
  • Sabbatical, Religious of the Sacred Heart, Wollongong, 1992.
  • Assistant-General, Central Administration, Mother House, Rome, 1978-1982.
  • Provincial, Provincial House, Mosman, 1972-1976.
  • Provincial, Australian New Zealand Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart, since
  • Principal, Duchesne College, University of Queensland, 1967-1971.
  • Class Mistress (Secondary), Rose Bay, 1953.
  • Juniorate, Rose Bay, 1949-1950.


Sr Shan is also recognised for her time at Stuartholme:

  • Mistress General, 1958.
  • Class Mistress, 1954 at Montpellier France.
  • Class Mistress (Secondary), 1950-1953.

Sr Shan with Sancta Freshers 1989 at the Gala Dinner 2019
Sr Shan says grace at the Gala Dinner 2019