Sister Maura received the award of Doctor of Education (honoris causa) on Wednesday 19th July at a ceremony at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. She was given the honour to mark her lifelong commitment to secondary and university education across the UK.
She said: “I am very honoured to receive this degree, but it is not for me, it is for my order, the Sisters of Notre Dame. What you have listened to in past minutes [the citation for Sister Maura] is an expression of Notre Dame ministry. Mine is only a part in the achievement, which owes its success to the team spirit and sharing of so many Sisters, staff and students.”
Sister O’Carroll began her teaching career in 1958 at Notre Dame High School, Everton Valley, Liverpool. She has worked in education across the UK, including as Headmistress at Notre Dame High School Oxford, Headmistress at Notre Dame High School St Helens, and Secretary and Registrar at Heythrop College, University of London. Sister Maura was appointed Principal at Notre Dame College, Liverpool to continue her predecessor’s work in establishing an ecumenical Institute of Higher Education from Notre Dame, Christ’s College and St Katharine’s. This later became Liverpool Hope University.
Talking about the University now, Sister Maura said: “What I have noticed is the students are very friendly, and that I think, says a lot, because if students are friendly, it means that the atmosphere of the whole place is accepting.” happen.”
Talking about her long career in education, she said: “It is very important that you love and like your students, because if you don’t and you can’t relate to them, you won’t teach them properly. They may learn something from you, but education is more than the distribution of facts and the writing of exam papers. One of the things as a teacher is that you want to help these young people to reach adulthood in a mature and happy way.”
Asked what advice she would give to our new graduates, Sister Maura said: “You must like what you are doing, because if you don’t have some enjoyment in it, you won’t give as fully as you need to give, to those you are serving. Secondly, social justice is vital, and therefore to play your part in fighting and struggling for it is absolutely essential, if you are working in education. Then one of the things you are educating your students in is social justice.”
Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University said: “Sister Dr Maura O’Carroll played a major part in our University’s history, helping to establish an ecumenical Institute of Higher Education from Notre Dame, Christ’s College and St Katharine’s – which was later to become Liverpool Hope. While playing an important part in our history, Sister Maura is very much a part of our present, and we are delighted to welcome her formally as a Doctor of Education (honoris causa). Our honorary degree stands alongside her own PhD in medieval studies, and her vast achievements in the education of young women at Notre Dame schools around the UK. Sister Maura is a true inspiration for our new graduates.”
Also receiving awards this week are Vice-Chancellor of Lille Catholic University Pierre Giorgini, and academic and Poirot actor David Suchet.