'With her vast breadth of experience in education, pastoral work and ministry, the Most Rev Vincent Long OFM CONV has appointed Sr Catherine Ryan rsm as Chancellor (Ministries) for the Diocese of Parramatta. Sr Catherine is the first female religious to hold such a position in the Diocese. She joins Msgr Ron McFarlane who has been appointed Chancellor (Administration).
Sr Catherine has been a vowed member of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta since 1963 and ministered for the following twenty-seven years in the field of Catholic Primary education. Initially a teacher at St Charles’ Ryde and St Bernadette’s Castle Hill, Catherine completed higher studies in Education Administration and then worked in the Catholic Education Office Sydney to establish the Leadership Development Program for Primary School Principals (1974-1976). Sr Catherine served as principal of St Patrick’s Primary School Blacktown (1977-1980), OLOF Caringbah (1981-83) and St Michael’s Baulkham Hills (1985-1990).
In the early nineties, Sr Catherine gained qualifications in Clinical Pastoral Education through Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney and was appointed by Bishop Bede Heather as Chaplain to those living with and affected by HIV/Aids in Western Sydney. This ministry included the opening of Bethany, a respite care centre in Blacktown, which was sponsored by the Diocese and supported by many religious congregations and the NSW Health Department.
From 1998-2005 she gained rich pastoral experience as member of the Parish Team of Holy Family Community, Mt Druitt. From 2005, Sr Catherine took up fulltime leadership roles within her Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, serving as Congregation Vicar 2004-2010 and as Congregation Leader 2010-2016. She currently lives in the Mercy community at St Michael’s Baulkham Hills.
Sister Catherine Ryan commences her appointment 1 July 2017.'
Article first published in Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta News. Reprinted with permission.