AUSTRALIAN NOMINATION: Sister Larelle Laverty, of Wardell, holds up her certificate of acknowledgement, by the National Australia Day Council, proving she was nominated for Australian of the Year 2013.
AUSTRALIAN NOMINATION: Sister Larelle Laverty, of Wardell, holds up her certificate of acknowledgement, by the National Australia Day Council, proving she was nominated for Australian of the Year 2013. Samantha Elley

Sister Larelle’s big surprise

IF HUMILITY won prizes, then Sister Larelle Laverty, of Wardell, would certainly be in the running.

In fact, the Sister of Mercy nun recently received a letter from the National Australia Day Council saying she had been nominated for Australian of the Year 2013.

"This wasn't the local Australia Day awards from the council," Sr Laverty said, obviously still very surprised.

"This was right across Australia."

The letter, signed by Adam Gilchrist as chair of the National Australia Day Council, said that while Sr Laverty wasn't selected as one of the finalists, "You can be very pleased that someone felt you deserved special recognition and took the time to nominate and tell us about you."

The letter was accompanied by a certificate acknowledging Sr Laverty's nomination.

"I found out I was nominated by the daughter of a lady I used to look after many years ago," Sr Laverty said.

"Such a small thing to do, but it obviously meant a lot to the daughter."

Sr Laverty's nomination is warranted, however, and a quick glance at her resume explains why.

After 35 years in secondary education, the experienced teacher and nun chose to take in children in crisis.

"I looked after 400 kids with all kinds of issues," she said.

"Only three children out of that many were ever a danger."

Sr Laverty did that work for 15 years.

She now carries on a pastoral ministry in the Wardell community.



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