Sister Mary de Porres (Sister Valmae Marie Flannigan RSM) is the recipient of a 2010 Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to education.
Sister de Porres taught at various primary and secondary schools around the country for more than 50 years. For 21 of these years, she was Principal at three Catholic colleges - St Catherine’s, Kilbirnie (1967-1973); St Peter’s, Palmerston North (1980-1981) and St Mary’s, Wellington (1983-1994).
Also an author, Sister de Porres last year published ‘Like a Mustard Seed’, one of three histories she has written of the Sisters of Mercy. Currently, Sister de Porres is the archivist and librarian for the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington.
Sister de Porres says she was “quite overwhelmed” when she found out she was to receive a Queen’s Service Medal, but “honoured that recognition was being given to Catholic Education as well as to my family and congregation”.
“I have always regarded teaching as a great privilege as well as a big responsibility to help form the minds of young people and assist them to develop their talents and achieve their dreams in life,” she says.
Sister de Porres is still actively involved in Catholic education, helping college students with debating, oratory, drama and public speaking.