King’s Birthday honour for Winston Hills parishioner is a chance to “put our faith into action” 

By Mary-Jane Chemuel, 8 July 2024
Anne Stanfield, AM. Image: St Vincent de Paul Society, NSW.


Anne Stanfield had nominated others for awards and honour lists but never imagined the same for herself, let alone being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). 

A parishioner at St Paul the Apostle Parish, Winston Hills, Anne has been recognised on the King’s Birthday Honours list 2024 for her significant service to community and social welfare organisations. 

“It’s something I never thought would happen to me. People volunteer because they feel it’s important to contribute and help build a safe compassionate society. In my experience no one including myself does it for recognition or reward, so yes it was a wonderful surprise,” Anne told Catholic Outlook. 

It’s been a joy to hear from family and friends to acknowledge the award,” Anne added. 

Anne has been involved with the St Vincent de Paul Society for more than 30 years, beginning in Harris Park. She has since held several roles with the organisation in local communities around Western Sydney, fostering the positive changes she wishes to see. 

(L-R): Western Sydney Community Sleepout Ambassador, Susan Goldie, St Vincent de Paul Society Parramatta Central Council President, Anne Stanfield, CEO Sleepout Founder, Bernie Fehon and Western Sydney University Pro-Vice Chancellor Simon Barrie. Image: St Vincent de Paul Society NSW.

These include visiting people in need of assistance, in their homes or the Vinnies Community Support Centre at Harris Park, volunteering on the Western Sydney Night Patrol Van in Western Sydney, as well as a director of SVDPNSW, St Vincent de Paul Housing and the St Vincent de Paul National Redress Scheme. 

She is currently on the Board of Directors for St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and a member of the Winston Hills St Paul the Apostle Conference. 

Anne (centre) with conference members of the Winston Hills St Paul the Apostle Conference being awarded Life Membership of the Society and certificates of service by Fr Raning Creta during a special Mass in 2022. Image: Supplied.

“As a Catholic it’s an opportunity to put our faith into action. To put our Catholic values and social justice teachings into practical assistance and support for people in our communities who need it,” Anne said. 

“We do it without making any judgment of people’s circumstances, I’m amazed at the resilience of many of the people that we support,” she added. 

Anne has worked extensively in various communities on housing issues, whether it be emergency relief for food and bills, referral support for people experiencing disadvantage or at risk of homelessness, and building affordable social housing. 

Anne says the appointment has allowed her to pause and reflect on her service and all the people she has met along the way. 

While Anne still doesn’t know who nominated her, she humbly accepts it as recognition for everyone she has worked with in her 30 years of service. 

“Everything I’ve done has been with other people – from members, volunteers and employees. Everyone working together is what makes the organisation what it is and enables us to have a significant impact on people in our communities.” 

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