Sister Breda Celebrates Her 60th Jubilee

If you have ever stepped into the staffroom on a Thursday, chances are you have seen Sister Breda, relishing her lunch and engaging in lively conversations with members of staff. This weekend is particularly special for Sister Breda as she celebrates her birthday and 60th Jubilee as a Sister of Mercy, an incredible milestone. She has served as an exceptional teacher, mentor, and friend to many, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have her as part of our College Community. 

Beyond the College walls, her dedication to service and community extends to working with asylum seekers and refugees, teaching English at the Edmund Rice Centre. She also loves to share the many stories from the time she spent teaching the wonderful Indigenous students at the University of Notre Dame’s Broome Campus. 

Sister Breda’s life has been characterised by an extraordinary journey enriched with faith, service, and compassion. She often recounts how back in Ireland, the Sisters would encourage girls to relocate to Australia and join the Sisters of Mercy. Although larger groups typically made the move, in 1961, only six girls, including Sister Breda, decided to make the move to the other side of the world. 

She shares that as one of the youngest sisters, she found herself sleeping out on one of the McAuley Building’s verandas. During the chilly winter months, she’d move her bed closer to the wall, and look for any spare blankets that she could find to keep warm.

Sister Breda has consistently endeavoured to actively engage students, fostering a delightful atmosphere in the classroom. Carolyn Sharp, a member of the Class of 1986, and one of Sister Breda’s students, fondly recalls Sister Breda’s daily guitar sessions before the students dispersed for the day. Her vibrant performances transformed learning the guitar into a delightful experience, inspiring many students to pick up the instrument themselves.

Nowadays, she engages with staff and students during her weekly visits, offering advice, support and Tai Chi classes whenever needed. However, this week was particularly special as the College organised a communal lunch in celebration of her 60th Jubilee on Sunday 19 May. 

During the lunch, Principal Jennifer Oaten expressed her appreciation for Sister Breda, highlighting her significant role in enabling students and community members to celebrate their sacraments through the classes she leads. She also shed light on Sister Breda’s mentorship, whereby she engages students in diverse topics, including her experiences as a Mercy Sister. Sister Breda’s nomination as the volunteer of the year at the Edmund Rice Centre serves as a testament to her continuous commitment to community and service. 

In describing Sister Breda, Principal Jennifer Oaten used the words “humble, bubbly, and kind,” highlighting how “she is someone who always warmly welcomes everyone with a bright smile and abundant energy.”

Sister Breda’s connection to the College runs deep and we are extremely grateful to have celebrated this incredible milestone with her. We would like to thank Sister Breda for always taking the time to share her life journey and wisdom with our staff, students and members of the community.  

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