Pauline Fitz-Walter commenced her secondary education at Lourdes Hill College in 1937, and finished as Dux of Lourdes Hill in the Senior Class of 1940. She went on to train as a teacher with the State Education Department, and served in both primary and secondary schools in Brisbane and country areas, with great success. After a varied career as a teacher and radio announcer, Pauline, at the age of 25, entered the Good Samaritan Novitiate in Pennant Hills, Sydney, in July 1948, and was given the name Sister Mary Francisca.

While teaching in Good Samaritan schools, Pauline completed her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education through The University of Queensland, and finally her Master of Education.

In 1968, Sr Pauline and Sr Verna Holyhead went to Rome as the first Good Samaritan sisters to be sent overseas. There they completed four years’ theological studies, resulting in a Master of Arts (Religious Sciences). When Sr Pauline returned to Australia, she spent some years lecturing in Theology, Scripture and Church History at Mater Dei Institute of Spirituality in Lavender Bay, Sydney.
However, Sr Pauline had always felt deeply drawn to the care of people who are homeless, mentally ill, and struggling with drug addiction. After much prayerful discernment, she and Sr Joanna de Groot were granted permission in 1977 to work with, and from 1978, to live with and minister among, these people in the inner suburbs of Sydney. This marked the beginning of the organisation, ‘Little Brothers and Sisters of St Francis’. Over the next few years several houses were established throughout Eastern Australia, providing a sense of belonging, dignity and new hope in the lives of their residents.

Sr Pauline has been called the “Mother Teresa of Sydney” and the “Angel of the Streets” for her many years of ministry amongst disadvantaged adults. In 1996, she received a Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of her service. She is now retired and lives in Sydney.

Adapted from a biography written by Sr Pauline’s sister, Sr Bernice Fitz-Walter, SGS, March 1991
Snapshot of LHC: 1936-1945

Lourdanians excelled in tennis, winning the Archbishop’s Shield for A Grade for the first time in 1938. The outbreak of World War II meant changes for the school. The boarders were evacuated in February 1942 to Gayndah, while some Sisters and day scholars remained behind at Hawthorne. The school was reunited in 1943. Life returned to normal after the war and familiar traditions were re-established, such as the Past Pupils’ Debutante Ball.
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