Sr Patricia Feehan

Sr Patricia Feehan believes her life as a Sister of Mercy has gifted her with many opportunities which have enriched her ministry in education with beliefs, values and vision.

Born in 1942 at the height of WW2, Patricia completed her Primary education at Yorketown Area School followed by Mercedes College. Then in 1960 it was teacher training at Wattle Park Teachers College, SA, and a teaching career beginning with a Year 4 class at Kingston Area School, SA.

In 1963 Patricia entered the Sisters of Mercy, Angas Street, Adelaide SA. This enabled her to teach a Year 3 class at St Raphael’s Primary School, Parkside, South Australia. From this beginning with Mercy schools, Patricia continued to teach Years 1-4, predominantly at Mercedes College (of which she was an old scholar). This experience progressed with Patricia being in charge of junior boarders then being second in charge of senior boarders at Mercedes in the early 1970s.

Patricia’s experience and expertise in education is prodigious, working not only for the Sisters of Mercy but also in key roles within the South Australian Education Department and Adelaide Archdiocese. Her keen intellect and drive have been honed over decades in which she has availed herself of educational opportunities and experiences, notably in the areas of education of handicapped children, early childhood centres in city and rural areas within South Australia and developing child centred catechesis for young children.

Sr Patricia Feehan
(Sr Patricia Feehan, St Aloysius College Archives)
Sr Pat Feehan
(Sr Patricia Feehan, St Aloysius College Archives)

Not content with her already vast array of working commitments, Patricia has, over the years volunteered to co-run holiday children’s programs at Davenport Aboriginal Reserve, Pt Augusta, volunteered as Cook for white missionary workers and priests at Balgo Mission, Kimberley, Western Australia and worked to support principals and teachers to establish programs in newly created child-parent early childhood centres in city and rural areas within South Australia.

Patricia is a fine example of the fact that education should be a life-long undertaking and her Diploma in Teaching (Primary), Sydney Kindergarten Teachers College Certificate, Bachelor of Education Majoring in Geography, Master of Education Majoring in Religious Education and a PhD from various tertiary institutions are certainly testament to that.

As an Advisory Teacher then Curriculum Consultant in Early Childhood Education Patricia has no doubt influenced many other educators with her support and wisdom, not to mention her passion, knowledge and work ethic. She has been Deputy Principal, Primary, Kilmara School, Thebarton, South Australia. and after being Principal at St Mary Magdalene’s School, Elizabeth Grove, South Australia, from 1992 until early 2004, Patricia embarked on a closer relationship with Angas Street at St Aloysius College. Patricia brought her creativity and depth of knowledge to the Year 8- 10  Retreat Programme, RE Curriculum Development R-7 and teaching RE to Yrs. 8 and 10. 2015 saw Patricia initiate the Godly Play programme which was a Community of Practice endeavour, which led to Professional Development in Religious Education with Primary Class teachers and her Ph.D  followed by several Post-doctoral research projects.

While Patricia certainly nurtured the educational side of her being, everything Patricia has done and accomplished has gone hand in hand with her deep thirst for spiritual nourishment, via on-going local, national and global studies in all things religious from Scripture and Moral Theology to Liturgy.

Patricia’s philosophy is without question God- and Jesus-centred, compelling her to provide opportunities for each child to become the accomplished human being that God would have intended. Patricia firmly believes that early educational experiences impact children’s readiness for further learning and that education can break generational poverty cycles.

By Sr Patricia Feehan and Carolyne Williams, 2021

‘Along the journey I have been accompanied by hundreds of children and many, many dedicated teachers who have been a source of enrichment to me. I have witnessed many examples where teachers have placed the child ‘in the midst’. The consequence of this has resulted in the teachers valuing the child which has led the child to believe in him/herself. The teachers have, through their ministry, in the words Micah used in a school vision statement ‘acted justly, loved tenderly and walked humbly with their God’. 

Sr Patricia Feehan