First class teacher puts down the chalk

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First class teacher puts down the chalk

The charism of the Sionian Nuns who taught at the Notre Dame de Sion in Box Hill, Victoria, had a profound influence on a young school girl called Rosemary O’Brien.

They believed in ‘truth in charity’ and had a strong commitment to human rights.

Now Miss O’Brien is retiring from teaching this month after a 47 year career, most of it in the Catholic Education system. For the past 36 years she has taught at Marion Catholic College and St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary School in Launceston.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Miss O’Brien, who is a parishioner at the Church of the Apostles in Launceston, recalled.

“I was greatly influenced in this by the Sionian Nuns; and I always liked children.

“My great aunt, who was also a nun, was a wonderful teacher and she continued teaching until her late 90s, teaching Latin to medical students.”

Miss O’Brien, 69, lists Sr Perpetua Corrigan, ‘a brilliant educator’ at the Brigidine Teachers’ College in Malvern where Miss O’Brien trained as another powerful influence on her career.

During her career, Miss O’Brien taught at St Timothy’s Forest Hills, Vic (1967-68), Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Ringwood, Vic (1974), the Flinders Island mobile kindergarten (1976-77), Haig St Kindergarten at Mowbray (1976-80), and Marion College and St Thomas More’s in Launceston from 1981 to 2017.

She also set up the first Catholic kindergarten in the state at Marion College’s Newstead campus (now St Thomas More’s).

“I have been very fortunate to follow a passion for all these years – to really love something and be able to do it for the whole of a lifetime,” she said.

She has passed on to her students a passion for literacy, a love of learning, an interest in human rights, and a greater understanding of pre-white contact Australian history.