Margo Nancarrow named inaugural Magdalene Award recipient

Representing the values of courage, leadership, fidelity and strength, the inaugural “Magdalene” was awarded on 12 March.

Following Sunday morning Mass with Bishop Bill as presider, the Toohey Room was filled with friends and family of the 25 nominees showing their support for some of the remarkable women of our diocese. Each has demonstrated a life being lived in ways that reflect the gospel values of mercy, peace, justice and compassion.

Bishop Bill offered his congratulations to all the candidates, not only for being nominated but for the actions and contributions that have led others to put their names forward. He went on to say he did not envy the judges as the gifts and talents of these women were so diverse it was like “comparing apples with harbour bridges!”

After a lifetime of service to the church and belonging to various groups and councils, Margo Nancarrow graciously accepted the award from Bishop Bill to great applause. Margo said later, “I thank the selection group for choosing me from a number of very worthy nominees. I was surprised and deeply humbled that a lifelong commitment to working for my Church and for the advancement of women was recognised. The theme of this year, ‘Be Bold for Change’, should resonate for us all. The symbolic nature of the actual award is outstanding and I will treasure it until next year. Thank you to the Council for Australian Catholic Women in this diocese for its continued support and acknowledgement of women.”

The unveiling of the perpetual award was a most anticipated moment. The simple figure of steel and stone embodies a woman standing tall with wide open arms. Master blacksmith Will Maguire’s figure has an abject beauty, inviting contemplation and quiet reflection. According to Will, the uncomfortable stance also alluded to “the difficult history and contemporary issue of women’s recognition in the church, an issue the award is addressing”.

Such issues are well understood by Margo on various levels, particularly through her involvement with groups such as the Australian Catholic Bishops Life Council which advises on issues relating to family, youth and life. She is also the Catholic Women’s League Bioethics Co-ordinator and is aware of the ethical issues surrounding healthcare for all.

Chair of the Council for Australian Catholic Women’s contact group, Patricia Banister, concluded by thanking the group for its support as well as acknowledging the judging panel and the nominees.

Magdalene Award Nominees

Kate Bartlett
Patricia Bogan
Sue Campbell
Judith Crittenden
Robyn Donnelly
Gae Fishlock
Vicki Grogan Griffin
Helen Anne Johnson rsj
Kerrie Lendon
Patricia McPherson
Bronwyn Melville
Anne Millard Daugherty
Ann Morris
Anne Moylan rsj
Margo Nancarrow
Sue O’Donohue
Yvonne Potter
Joan Price
Maureen Reynolds (RIP)
Helen Russell
Trish Scanlon
Caprice Skinner
Lidy Waanders
Deirdre Watson
Edith Walz

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Katherine Muscat Image
Katherine Muscat

Katherine Muscat is the graphic designer for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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