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Potter, Norah Mary (1849 - 1927)

Born
21 February 1849
Cloontamore, Longford, Ireland
Died
13 November 1927
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Occupation
Religious sister and Teacher
Alternative Names
  • Mother Patrick

Summary

Mother Patrick Potter was born in Ireland and educated at Cloontagh National School and Longford Convent School. In 1866 she began her novitiate as a Sister of Mercy at Athy Convent, Kildare. Upon arrival in Australia in 1868, Mother Patrick joined the Queensland Sisters of Mercy congregation which had been established by Mother Vincent Whitty, making her profession of vows at Brisbane's All Hallows Convent in 1869. Appointed to All Hallows' school, Mother Patrick contributed greatly to the religious, academic and cultural development of the students. In 1879 she was elected to the administration of the Brisbane congregation of Sisters of Mercy, where she acted as Superior or assistant, for the next 48 years.

Details

After a few years' teaching in Ipswich, Queensland, Mother Patrick was appointed to an administrative role at All Hallows School (the first secondary school for girls in Queensland). In contributing to All Hallows' agenda, she made a particular contribution to the school's music program. She was a friend to her students, offering advice and encouragement, promoting higher education and preparing candidates for junior examinations at the Universities of Sydney and Queensland. In 1889 she introduced Latin into a course which already included French, Italian and German.

Following Mother Patrick's election to the Brisbane Sisters of Mercy, she assisted in establishing convents and schools in areas as remote as Charleville and Goondiwindi. Mother Vincent Whitty's idea of building a Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Brisbane was enthusiastically adopted by Mother Patrick who brought about the purchase of the South Brisbane land in 1893.She had planned for a children's wing on the site before she died in 1927. The Mater Children's Hospital opened in 1931 and was dedicated to her memory.

Sources used to compile this entry: O'Brien, Katherine M, 'Potter, Norah Mary (1849-1927)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online , Australian National University, Australian National University Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2006, http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110272b.htm; O'Brien, Katherine M, 'Mother Mary Patrick Potter (1849-1927)', in Women's contributions to Queensland: 1870 -1879, Office for Women, Queensland Government, State of Queensland, Brisbane, 2009, http://www.women.qld.gov.au/q150/1870/index.html#item-mary-patrick-potter.

Archival resources

Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland

  • Papers, 1883-1944, 1883 - 1944, UQFL1; Michael Potter Collection; Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details

John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland

  • 7309 Photographs of the Funeral of the Rev. Mother Patrick 1927, 15 November 1927 - , 7309; John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland. Details

Lee Butterworth

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124