Sisters put diplomat on path to leadership

Harinder Sidhu with Nagle College students (Catholic Education Parramatta)

To mark International Women’s Day, a senior Australian diplomat has praised the religious sisters who showed her how women can lead with “wisdom, grace and confidence”. Source: Catholic Outlook.

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Australia's High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu, represents Australia to the 1.3 billion people of India. She remembers her roots in western Sydney with gratitude.

“When I attended what was then Nagle Girls High School, it was a very small school (not quite 300 students) and so the girls and the Sisters were very close,” Ms Sidhu said.

“For most of the time, I had Sr Marie-Jean as my religion teacher and I learned so much from her about the power of humour and compassion,” she said.

“She also had a firm belief in her guardian angel and even today, when I’m facing difficulty, I think of Sr Marie-Jean saying – with a twinkle in her eye – ‘yes, it will all work out. Because I have my guardian angel, just sitting here at my shoulder, looking out for me, and so do you.’”

“Of all the Sisters, it was Sr Mary Cannane, our principal, who I had the greatest respect for. She led the school with wisdom, grace and confidence.”

“It is fair to say that she was the first role model of a female leader I had, and I consider myself particularly fortunate to have been at school under her leadership.”

The Indian Catholic community in Australia numbers in the tens of thousands and is drawn from many different backgrounds, from Syro-Malabar Catholics (originating in Kerala) to Anglo-Indians from Kolkata and other parts of India

“They form part of the very large and rapidly growing Indian diaspora in Australia – one of the fastest growing sources of migrants and students for Australia. And they make an active and positive contribution to all parts of the Australian community,” Ms Sidhu said.


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