Fan of a woman of note

FATHER Bill Kennedy is an unabashed fan of Mary Gilmore.

In fact he is the proud owner of three new consecutive $10 notes, of which her portrait graces.

“I remember being taught by the Mercy Sisters at Crookwell many years ago,” he said.

“They taught us Mary Gilmore poems, many which I remember still today.”

The town recently held its annual Mary Gilmore Festival.

Amanda Evans from the Reserve Bank of Australia attended to launch and promote the new $10 note.

As is the case most years, Fr Kennedy attended the festival.

It was a particularly good year for the family.

The priest’s brother Bryan won a framed original artwork from the Mary Gilmore Society.

Both Fr Kennedy and Dame Gilmore share Crookwell as a birthplace.

He was a bank officer before becoming a man of the cloth and over the years has maintained a keen interest in banking matters.

Sr Ursula and Sr Gabrielle of Goulburn were special guests at the festival alongside the priest.

These days Fr Kennedy provides hospice chaplaincy to Canberra’s Clare Holland House and vocational chaplaincy to the Canberra Serra Club.

He says that although Dame Gilmore wasn’t a Catholic, she did hold the Sisters of Mercy as her best friends.

“Dame Gilmore’s poetry resonates with Australians and Catholics because she stands for justice,” he said.

“She left original copies of all her works with the Sisters.

“She used to help feed the poor with them during the depression.”

Fr Kennedy himself has many copies of the dame’s literature and says he is enjoying being able to read and study them in his spare time.