LAST week St Patrick's Catholic School held a farewell liturgy to celebrate the retirement a much-loved teacher, Miss Marilyn McCarthy and on Friday she will officially end her teaching career after 43 years of service.
Miss McCarthy devoted the first 16 years of her adult life to being a nun in the order of the Sisters of St Joseph. During that time she taught in many remote places from Mt Isa, Burketown, Julia Creek and Cloncurry in the north, to Emerald in the west and St George and Tara in the south. Her first class was a Year 1 class of 41 students. Following her day in the classroom Marilyn would continue her work for the Church, assisting elderly nuns, working in the mission communities and visiting the sick.
After leaving the Order, Marilyn continued working for Catholic Education as a teacher and worked in several centres, before being transferred to St Patrick's Catholic School Bundaberg in 2004, where her love of learning and sense of fun enriched the lives of students, parent s and colleagues alike.
In a heartfelt tribute to Miss McCarthy, Principal Mr Mark Fox described her as the embodiment of the school's mission statement. Her life is a testament to learning, loving God through her witness to her faith and celebrating life. Special mention was made of Miss McCarthy's love of life and sense of humour, which on many occasions have brought classrooms and staffrooms to life with laughter and fun.
In farewelling Miss McCarthy and recognising her contribution to Catholic Education and the lives of thousands of students, Mr Fox quoted the words of George Bernard Shaw, "I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” Miss McCarthy's dedication and service to others surely personifies these words and while she will be sorely missed, she will be remembered very fondly by a grateful community.