2016 Distinguished Alumnae Announcement

Little Flower Academy is truly blessed with a clear mission and vision. The legacy of the Sisters of St Ann at LFA is infused in our culture and still guides the school to this day. With so many of our alumnae having a positive impact on their families, their community and on our wider society, the school and the Alumnae Executive launched the Distinguished Alumnae program in 2015 to acknowledge those in our community whose impact has been profound.

This year we are very excited to announce two recipients of our Distinguished Alumnae award. We wish to acknowledge and congratulate Sister Eileen Kelly and Patricia Marsden-Dole ’63 as our 2016 Distinguished Alumnae. Alumnae from many years will know the impact that Sister Kelly had on our school as a teacher and as the Principal, as well as her impact on the wider community serving as a Sister of St Ann. Patricia will be well known to her Class of 1963, who are very close. She has been a trail blazer for women serving in Canadian Foreign Service, a scholar, and a tireless leader in social justice in her adopted home community of Ottawa.
Sr. Eileen Kelly
Sister Eileen Kelly was born in Victoria, BC, to Irish immigrant parents. She joined the convent after graduating from high school. Tragedy quickly followed as, within a year of entering the convent, her mother, father and one of her brothers passed away. The transition to the religious life was made during this incredibly difficult time for Sr. Kelly. She persevered with the loving support of her surviving sister and brother. As a Sister of St Ann, Sr. Kelly served as a teacher at LFA for many years. Her affinity to teaching and schools was recognized and she moved on to be Principal at St Ann’s in New Westminster. She also served as Principal at St Ann’s in Kamloops.

Sr. Kelly was extremely well educated. She completed her Montreal Teaching Certificate early and clearly had an affinity to all that encompassed being an educator. She received both her Bachelor of Arts in History and her Master’s Degree in History from Seattle University. At a time when only men and women in a religious order could attend Notre Dame University in Indiana, Sr. Kelly was accepted to complete her Doctor of Philosophy. At that time, she was one of only a handful of women on campus. It has been noted how she thrived under the challenges that the environment presented to her. For those that knew her well, it also offered the opportunity for her to embrace football, which she very much loved.

After receiving her PhD, Sr. Kelly served as administrator with the Sisters of St Ann before returning to LFA in 1980. With vision and diplomacy, she guided the school through the difficult process of becoming exclusively a high school. Recognizing the changing role of women in society, she was instrumental in the transition at LFA to offering a more complete curriculum, which included the huge investment by the Sisters of St Ann in building a dedicated science wing in the early 1990s. In her 18 years at LFA as the Principal, she worked tirelessly to strengthen the high standards that are now synonymous with Little Flower Academy. Believing deeply in the value of life-long education, she strongly promoted professional development and further education for the faculty, with many being empowered to pursue their Master’s Degree while teaching at LFA.

When Sr. Kelly retired in 1998, she moved to Vancouver Island to join the community of Sisters of St Ann based on the Island. With such an investment in both our school community and the wider Vancouver community, Sr. Kelly made a point of returning frequently for visits. After a long and accomplished life, Sister Eileen Kelly passed away at nearly 80 years of age. Those that knew her, fondly attribute cultural nuances at LFA to this day to her fun-loving spirit and unwavering determination to serve the best interests of the young women studying at the school.

Patricia Marsden-Dole ’63
Dr. Patricia Marsden-Dole ‘63 entered LFA in Grade 4, graduating in 1963 with a class that was particularly close and has largely stayed in touch. Patricia was actively involved in the life of the school. She was on the team that put together her graduating yearbook and won a scholarship for the Canada Council Winter Art School. Patricia clearly showed commitment to her passion early as her yearbook comments foretold of her Foreign Service career, noting that she was, “saving her lunch money for a return trip to Europe [and that] her interests lie in political science and economics.”

On leaving LFA, Patricia completed her BA at the University of British Columbia. She went on to receive her Certificat des Hautes Politiques Européennes from the College of Europe in Bruges Belgium in 1968 and, just two years after leaving UBC, in 1969, Patricia became Canada’s first woman Trade Commissioner. She would go on to serve for 34 years in the Canadian Foreign Service, holding key posts and being recognized for her outstanding contribution. Highlights include her role as the Canadian High Commissioner in Tanzania, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles. She also served as the Canadian Ambassador to Portugal. Her accomplishments in that role were recognized in 1999 when she was inducted as a “Commander of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator” for her work building relations between Portugal and Canada following the fishing dispute between the EU and Canada in 1995.

Before retiring in 2003 from the Foreign Service, Patricia returned to Ottawa as Director General of the International Markets Bureau of Agriculture and Director General of South and South East Asian Foreign Affairs. Dr. Marsden-Dole has also contributed as a Course Developer for Trinity College Dublin and been an International Editor for Penumbra Press. While taking on these roles, Patricia has also earned her MA in Inter-religious Dialogue from Saint Paul University (2007) and completed a doctorate in Practical Theology from Saint Paul University (2014). Her doctoral research focused on the capacity of the autonomous culture of the boomer generation to initiate support networks to care for frail seniors.

In recent years, Patricia has concentrated her efforts and her wealth of experience on making a difference in her local Ottawa community. As Coordinator of Social Justice for the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Patricia plays an active role in engaging the Catholic community with the Gospel message articulated by Pope Francis “to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others” (Evangelii Gaudium, 57). She has also applied her academic research and learning to help plan and deliver community consultations in the Ottawa area on the topic of aging in an aging society. In 2015 she was presented with the Senior Achievement Award of the Province of Ontario for her activities in the community. She shares her family life with two sons, their wives, and three grandchildren; her husband of 44 years died in November 2015.

Celebrating our Distinguished Alumnae
Before Mass on May 19th, Dr. Marsden-Dole has graciously agreed to speak with our Grade 11 students on the topic of social justice. We are very excited to present Patricia with her Distinguished Alumnae award at our school Mass on Thursday, May 19th. She will speak briefly to our entire community at Mass and there is a reception to follow. Sr. Eileen Kelly’s niece, Kathy Kelly ’72 will accept Sr. Kelly’s award at our Mass and we look forward to Kathy speaking to Sr. Kelly’s legacy.

Our entire alumnae community is invited to both Mass (at 1:30pm) and the reception to follow.


For more information on the Distinguished Alumnae program, please visit www.lfabc.org/DistinguishedAlumnae
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  • eileen perry
    My Mom and "Annie" Sister Eileen Kelley were best friends forever from St. Anne's Academy until she retired in Victoria - and of course I was named Eileen because of Annie. My Mom is Sheila Perry, 92 years old and still living in her house in Kelowna. Mom was so excited and happy for Annie to be recognized. Thank you.

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