Sister Patricia Pak Poy

Principal July 1970 – May 1976

Patricia Pak Poy moved from Darwin to Adelaide and was enrolled at St Aloysius College as a seven year old in 1942. She completed her entire schooling at the college. In 1952, her Leaving Honours year, Patricia was made a prefect of the college and captain of St Clare’s. Patricia went on to Adelaide University and completed her Bachelor of Arts in 1955.

Following her university studies, Patricia taught at SAC as a lay teacher for a year. In September 1957, she received the holy habit of the Order and in August 1962, was admitted to Final Profession. In 1963, Sr Patricia was awarded the Diploma of Education.

Now known as Sr Virginia, Sr Patricia taught at SAC until 1969 when she travelled to the United States for a year’s study. This involved Union Theological (a Protestant seminary), Fordham University and Iona College. Sr Patricia also spent a month visiting a number of religious communities.

Upon her return to Adelaide, Sr Patricia took up the position of Principal of SAC which she held until mid-1976. General Studies had been introduced at the college and Sr Patricia made the integration of religion into the program a major focus.

In a move that anticipated the further growth in size and complexity of SAC, Sr Patricia established in 1975, an interim School Board that operated for three years when it was replaced by the first fully established School Board, a committee that in the years to follow, proved to be of immense assistance to the administration of the college and to the school community as a whole.

Sr Patricia Pak Poy
(Sr Patricia Pak Poy, St Aloysius College Archives)
(Sr Patricia Pak Poy and Tun Channareth, 2001, St Aloysius College Archives)

Following her tenure as principal, Sr Patricia became heavily involved in the affairs of the Adelaide congregation and of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia. She also became an important part of the movement to ban the use of landmines and in 1991, formed the Australian Network of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Her work in this area was recognized in 1998 by the award of an Order of Australia and the Anzac Peace prize.

Click here for more information on Sr Patricia Pak Poy’s work in the campaign to ban landmines.

By Neville Stapleton
Archivist, St Aloysius College, 2020