Magdalene for Margot

The Council for Australian Catholic Women Contact Group in Maitland-Newcastle each year recognises a woman living in and committed to this Diocese. It is a public affirmation of a life being lived in ways that echo the spirit of Mary Magdalene.

Margot Simmons is the most recent recipient of the Magdalene Award.

Mary Magdalene was the first to experience the Risen Christ and is the first Christian missionary, “the apostle to the apostles”. She exemplified courage, leadership, fidelity and strength.

Mrs Simmons was very surprised to be nominated for the award, and said it was an honour to receive it.

She has been an unassuming and hard-working member of St Benedict’s parish for more than 50 years. In her role as a pastoral carer, many people have appreciated her gentle and compassionate nature.  

Mrs Simmons has acted in this ministry with AIDS sufferers, the housebound, and the hospitalised. She cares for people in the community ensuring they receive birthday cards, and works with a group making Christmas puddings. Eager to help with hospitality, she assists with cake stalls and cooks hot meals for the sick.

As co-ordinator of the Pastoral Care Team, Mrs Simmons takes communion to those who are unable to attend Mass. She says she feels privileged being part of the team and hopes as a result of this award others will be encouraged to join (call 4979 1101).

 “I'm lucky I've got good health to be able to,” she said.

Last year, Mrs Simmons spent six weeks volunteering at the Mirrilingki Spirituality Centre in Warmun in the East Kimberley. This retreat house/motel is run by the Sisters of St Joseph and brings income to assist the local indigenous community. Mrs Simmons read about the opportunity in a parish bulletin, and jumped at the chance.

“It was a nice community there,” she said. “We were helping, doing cleaning and a lot of ironing. I’d love to do it again, to stay longer than the six weeks.”

On Sunday 8 March when Mrs Simmons received her award, she was thrilled to hear about the many things being done by other women in this Diocese. Each nominee was announced with the reason for their nomination. “There are so many wonderful people doing ministry everywhere, and many go unnoticed,” she said.

Those six amazing women Mrs Simmons spoke of, also nominated for this year’s Magdalene Award, were Patricia Banister, Loesje Doherty, Irene Gover, Lynette Huckstadt, Marie Sevil and Elaine Wallace.

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

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