|15 Oct 2021
Today, the world is a lesser place. Mrs Josephine Lonergan AM DCSG passed from this earth last week, and in her passing we lost a wonderful woman, a great mind, and a person of incredible generosity, service, spirit and faith. Jo was a woman who not only shaped and nurtured her incredible family, but also the lives of so many leaders in education and the law.
Jo’s service to education was enormous. She was an active member and erudite Chair of the St Aloysius’ College and Loreto Normanhurst School Boards. Her devotion to both schools and their work in shaping the minds and lives of families and young people was enormous. Her steady hand, clear thinking and ability to question was relied upon by so many, and in particular the Jesuit Headmasters, Principals, and members of Boards she worked with at both schools.
Jo’s unfailing support was always evident. Without her sound judgement, insightful leadership and incredible vision these schools would not have moved into the future as they have, as leading educational organisations at the core of which is the whole person. Jo’s passion and commitment was inclusive of all and was underpinned by her joy and deep love for others. Jo always showed confidence in the leaders she worked with, giving the right amount of necessary support and challenge.
As well as Jo’s commitment to voluntary service on these School Boards, Jo raised a beautiful and extended family with her late husband Tom. She worked tirelessly for the NSW Parents’ Council as Executive Director, always speaking up for the care of the family and the need to support parents.
Her service to the Catholic Church and society was recognised in 2005 when Pope Benedict XVI honoured Jo with a Papal Knighthood, a Dame Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great. She was considered by all as a great Australian, receiving the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her generous service.
Jo’s warmth, her sense of humour, her genuine connection with people, her inspiration as a strong woman of faith and commitment to others have inspired and shaped us. She has touched our lives forever and what she has given to us we must pass on to others just as she did for us. Mother Gonzaga Barry wrote, “We should leave behind us something on which others may build." Jo Lonergan has fulfilled those words all her life and we salute her for her loving service.
Vale Jo, thank you and farewell.
Former Principal Loreto Normanhurst 2008-2018
(Barbara worked with Jo at St. Aloysius’ College and at Loreto Normanhurst from 1996 – 2008)
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