Sister Kathleen Preece 1926-2020

Sr Kathleen Preece, born of Irish ancestry in 1926 near Mt Gambier, was the eldest of eight sisters and brothers all born within a decade. She was a brilliant student and completed her Leaving Certificate in Mt Gambier before she was fifteen. She then pleaded to be able to complete a wider range of Matriculation subjects at St Aloysius College in Adelaide. Sr Kath came to SAC from the South-East as a boarder in 1942 and, in addition to her studies, was able to pursue her love of singing and the piano.

After completing her leaving Honours year in 1943, Sr Kath entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy at Angas St in 1944 during which she would have spent much time in prayer and reflection in SAC’s beautiful chapel. The motto that she chose at her final profession, and which is engraved on her ring, is ‘For me, to live is Christ!’

She taught at SAC from 1947 until 1950, at Erindale Juniorate from 1951 until 1953, at SAC from 1954 till 1957, at Mater Christi, Mt. Gambier from 1958 until 1969. In 1970, Sr Kath returned to Adelaide and to SAC as Deputy Principal.

In the years 1972-76, the post Vatican Council period, Sr Kath was elected to serve on the Provincial Council. During this period, Sr Kath offered insightful ideas and vigorous opinions that were not only innovative but would consistently consider the needs of the most disadvantaged. Like a compass that swings true north, Sr Kath never lost her sense of service to her students and commitment to her faith.

Sr Kathleen Preece
(Sr Kathleen Preece)
Sr Kathleen Preece C1950
(Sr Kathleen Preece C1950)

During the U.S. academic year of 1977-1978, Sr Kath attended the Institute of Spirituality and Worship at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkely, California. Upon her return to Australia, Sr Kath took up duties at SAC as a Leaving class teacher, teaching Mathematics, Religion, Physics, Australian History and Year 8 Chemistry. A few years later Sr Kath had the role of Assistant to the Principal and unofficial title ‘Dean of Discipline’.

Sr. Kath retired from the staff of SAC in 2002. For years after her official retirement Sr Kath returned to SAC as a volunteer to tutor students in Mathematics and assist with the college archives.

‘Kath has been a remarkable teacher not because of her amazing academic ability, nor because of the huge range of subjects she taught, but because she imparts a love of learning and a love of life to everyone she encounters’.

Acting Principal John Konopka speaking at Sr Kath’s farewell.


Eulogy given by Patricia Fox and adapted by Nicoletta Romanelli, 2021

References

Fox, P 2020Eulogy for Sr Kathleen Preece, Adelaide.

Stapleton, N 2020Sr Kathleen Preece, St Aloysius College ArchivesAdelaide.