Sister Pat Malone – Eco-Hero Profile

Affectionately known as ‘Hey Jude’ (by senior students of the Beatles era), Sister Pat Malone has helped inspire many young people teaching religion, science and mathematics for over 20 years at Glen Innes, Panania, Mt St Joseph Catholic College Milperra, St Joseph’s Bankstown and St Joseph’s Hunters Hill.

With her tomboy persona and progressive beliefs, joining a religious congregation was the last thing Sister Pat imagined. It wasn’t until she read a book about Mary MacKillop and her life’s dedication to education that a teenage Sister Pat realised her calling in life.

Joining the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1957, Sister Pat adopted the name ‘Sister Jude’.

“Not many people thought that I’d ever stay in a convent, so I took Jude for my name because I knew I needed his intercession as the patron of hopeless cases,” Sister Pat said.

Sr Pat was one of the first Sisters to study science. Her study at the University of New South Wales challenged Sister Pat with new ideas as it was a time of changing understandings and theories stretching from the atom to the Universe. Sr Pat also had the opportunity to study some of the writings of the Jesuit Priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in conjunction with new material coming from the Vatican Council which opened new doors that led to an integration of science and religion that was the basis of her vision of life and teaching.

Sr Pat receiving her Doctorate.

After further study Sr Pat had a new focus in religious education working firstly in Melbourne, in the development of material and process that enabled secondary students to become involved. She then came back to Sydney and moved into tertiary education for the next 25 years. Sr Pat was involved in the development of the Australian Catholic University from the various Catholic Colleges of Teacher Education in Australia’s Eastern States.

Sister Pat’s strong passion for education is clear and her unconditional devotion to her students has always made her a valuable member of the community. She loved working with undergraduate students but gradually moved into postgraduate courses and especially loved her work with her Doctoral students. At one stage, her graduates were leading Religious Education departments in several Dioceses in Australia.

Sr Pat was also involved in leading the process of developing a Study of Religions Syllabus for NSW schools, taking an active role in the leadership of several Religious Education/Studies groups of teachers. She was invited to membership of an international group which explored research and teaching for diverse religions in different countries.

Sister Pat encourages everyone to be “open to their world”, to realise that they are part of this wonderful universe where “life and love go together”.