The Australian Catholic Church has paid tribute to the extraordinary life and achievements of Rosemary Goldie, the first woman to hold an official post of authority in the Roman Curia.
Rosemary, who took on a special place in Church history with her appointment in 1966 as Under-Secretary of the Council for the Laity, died at the Little Sisters of the Poor, in Randwick in Sydney's east, on Saturday, aged 94, said the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Phillip Wilson said Rosemary had made a tremendous contribution to the life of the church.
"At a time when lay people and particularly lay women might have struggled to find a voice in Church affairs, Rosemary Goldie was making history by being the first woman appointed as a Vatican curial official," he said.
"Her commitment to the lay apostolate was a life-long passion and her achievements helped pave the way for current generations.
"I offer my prayers for the repose of Rosemary's soul and for all those who knew and loved her at this sad time."
Once described as "the Roman Curia's human microchip memory on the development of the lay apostolate", Rosemary was also one of the few women appointed as an auditor to the Second Vatican Council, the bishops' statement said.
One of four children of Sydney journalists, Goldie was raised by her maternal grandmother and graduated from Sydney University in 1936. For the next two years she continued her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Rosemary was invited to join the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate set up in Rome by Pius XII in 1952. In 1959 she became Executive Secretary of the Committee. This body was the nucleus of the Council for the Laity, created by Paul VI as a result of Vatican II.
Pioneer Australian Catholic Woman, Rosemary Goldie dies at 94 (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)