Dialog Box

14 December 2017

Sister Mary Carroll's farewell

CatholicCare recently held a farewell celebration for one of our long-serving Prison Ministry chaplains, Sister Mary Carroll. Sister Mary has been a great listener and companion for women in prison for over 30 years, and her farewell was filled with stories of her compassion, commitment, and wholehearted care.

Sister Mary began working with teenage girls and women when she became a Good Shepherd Sister, around 40 years ago. Some of her early work included the start-up of hostels for vulnerable teenage girls, and helping them to get a job and prepare to move into their own accommodation. Sister Mary lived with the girls to help them on a daily basis, and noted that it was very much a learning process for them - “The girls hadn’t done any cooking; they didn’t know what that was like”.

The tolerance, acceptance, and kindness that Sister Mary has shown throughout her career are qualities that made her so loved by both the women she helped and her fellow Sisters and colleagues, but what has made her so special is “her great capacity to walk with others,” as stated by Paul Zammit - CatholicCare’s Senior Manager of Pastoral Services - in his speech to Sister Mary.

Sister Mary O’Shannassy, a close friend and colleague of Sister Mary, also described her as “a woman who met [the prisoners] without judgement,” and Deputy Commissioner Brendan Money from Corrections Victoria said that she has “touched the lives of many, many people”.

Sister Mary Carroll has worked as a chaplain in a range of prisons and correctional centres across Melbourne and Victoria, and has always gone out of her way to help women and girls in need - “My time in prison has been very, very special and I love it”. In her response to the speeches at her farewell, she said that it was a real privilege to be with those women, and it is this passion for her mission that makes her so inspiring.

“Thank you, Mary, not only for the many years of service, but also for the wonderful ministry of presence, and the manifestation of what a Good Shepherd looks like” – Paul Zammit


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