Page 118 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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Ms Therese Vassarotti

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.08): I would like to take this opportunity to offer condolences at the passing of Therese Vassarotti. Ms Vassarotti was the first executive officer of the Australian Catholic bishops commission for women. She died in Canberra after a long battle with cancer.

She was 62 years of age and a funeral mass was held today at St Christopher’s Cathedral in Manuka. She is survived by her husband, Kevin, a former executive officer of the National Catholic Education Commission and currently a member of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, and six children: Rebecca, Meagan, Sophie, Mark, Andrew and Patrick.

During her term with the Catholic bishops commission for women from 2001 to 2005 she encouraged and promoted the participation of women in the Catholic Church and was considered by many to be a pioneer in her field. Prior to her appointment to the bishops commission, Ms Vassarotti established her credentials within the Catholic Education Office and the Catholic Women’s League of Australia, where she served as the national communications officer.

Her executive appointments included director of education and formation at Catholic Health Australia and director of religious education at St Edmund’s College here in Canberra. She was a highly respected educator and mentor within Australian Catholic education and served as a teacher for over a decade in ACT Catholic colleges, including Merici College and St Clare’s College. Until her diagnosis late last year, Ms Vassarotti lectured in theology at the Australian Catholic University, where she coordinated education and formation programs to assist in the transition of leadership from religious to the laity in the Catholic health sector.

Ms Vassarotti has been described by many within the Catholic Church and the wider ACT community as a person with exceptional personal qualities and strength in her Catholic faith. She radiated warmth and compassion, possessed a giving nature and was vibrant, passionate and determined in her many pursuits within the fields of Catholic education, health, theology and the advancement of women within the Catholic Church of Australia.

The order of service at her funeral today was inscribed with these words: “Therese Vassarotti, a builder of community, an educator, scholar and reformer, a leader in all spheres of life”. And the Canberra community is the lesser for her passing.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.12 pm.

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