Diocese farewells former principal Sr Brenda Kennedy  

By Sr Patty Andrew OSU, 1 December 2023
Sr Brenda Kennedy CHF (front row centre) with former principals and educational colleagues from the Diocese of Parramatta at her farewell before she returns to Ireland. Image: Supplied


A group of former principals and educational colleagues gathered recently for a special lunch to farewell Sr Brenda Kennedy. 

Brenda is a sister of the Congregation of the Holy Faith (CHF) and after years of serving in a range of educational roles in the Diocese of Parramatta, is returning to her homeland of Ireland.  

It was here that this apostolic Congregation was founded by Margaret Aylward in 1867. She came from Waterford, in Ireland, where for many years she served the needs of children in distress.  

There was a strong demand to provide education for poor children and in response to this need the network of Holy Faith schools was established. From its beginning, the sisters now have a presence and ministry on four continents.  


The sisters of the Holy Faith began their Australian mission in 1961 when they opened a primary school in the then-recently established parish of St Thomas More at Campbell in the ACT. This was one of the newly developing areas of Canberra.  

Some of their sisters also helped to staff the new Diocesan girls’ secondary school, now known as Merici College, which brought together sisters from a range of religious congregations.  

Sr Brenda Kennedy CHF. Image: Supplied

Sisters of the Holy Faith also staffed the primary school at Gundagai, serving the needs of those in the more rural areas of the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn.  

The parishes of Christ the King, North Rocks, and St Paul the Apostle, Winston Hills, were established in 1970. Schools accompanied the new Parishes and were opened in 1973. The sisters of the Holy Faith led and managed both these schools for several decades. They, along with the Parish Priests Fr Burton and Fr Scott, and many young families built vibrant learning communities grounded in the faith of the People of God.  

History of caring 

One of her close Principal colleagues noted that Brenda cared at all levels for those she served. These included families, students and school staff.  

All remember her with joy, gratitude and admiration. In fact, part of Brenda’s charism was shown to all during her first years as a teacher when she visited the home of every child she taught. She cared, and they mattered.  

Brenda was the hand of the Lord in action, the Spirit’s very presence, as she touched everyone with the message: ‘Love one another’.  

In 1987, Brenda was appointed Principal of St Paul the Apostle Primary, Winston Hills. After many years of service to the school and the local community, she then took up the role of Area Administrator, working from the Catholic Education Office, to support schools in the Diocese.  

An image of Sr Brenda Kennedy CHF taken from ‘About Catholics Schools’ circa 1987. Image: Supplied

Then in 2004, Brenda was appointed as the founding Principal of the newly established primary school at Holy Family Primary, Emerton. Here, Brenda clearly reflected the charism of her Congregation as she built the spirit of a good community-based school in collaboration with her teachers, support staff and parents.

Her primary aim was to ensure that a range of learning opportunities were provided which catered for the diverse needs of students.  

As Brenda concludes her ministry in the Diocese of Parramatta, we thank her for all that she has contributed to strengthen the hope of the many people in the Diocese who have been touched by her faith and optimism. She has been a faithful colleague who has enriched our lives.

We thank all the Holy Faith sisters for their generous service to the Australian mission and in particular to the people of the Diocese of Parramatta for more than 50 years.  

Sr Patty Andrew OSU is the Vicar for Consecrated Life of the Diocese of Parramatta. 


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