A Principal Remembers...

A Principal Remembers...

From its first incarnation as an eight-page, black and white newspaper in 1991, Spirit magazine has documented the life of the school, the achievements of our community, and the thoughts and aspirations of our Principals

On the front cover of Issue 1 in 1991 is then Principal Sr Margaret Honner ibvm (’60), a familiar figure to many of us in the Loreto community. In fact, as Sr Margaret laughingly puts it, “I’ve had three goes at Loreto Kirribilli… I was a child here, from the ‘bubs’ all the way through. Then I came back as Principal, and now I’m back next door. So in a way I’m three generations of Loreto Kirribilli!”

In fact, it was her experience at Loreto that inspired Sr Margaret to join the convent. “There was a spirit of freedom and broadmindedness. I liked that spirit in the nuns, and I wanted to be like them. Home was male dominated - I had a strong dad, three brothers, and no sisters. Loreto Kirribilli was a woman’s world, and I thought it was fantastic.”

“I wanted to give my life to God and do something good. And options for doing good, in those days, were a bit more limited.” So Sr Margaret, half way through studying Arts at University of Sydney, entered the convent. At the time, her mother objected, partly due to the enclosed nature of the convent in those days. “The day I entered, she said to me, ‘I can’t believe you won’t come to my funeral’. And she was right, it was a silly rule.”

Thankfully, changes were afoot. “The second Vatican Council was happening, and if the changes hadn't come through, I don't think I would've stayed. The old way, and some of the things that had meaning in the past, had run out of meaning. It was the kind of convent Mary Ward didn't want. And so it wasn't really a great time to join, but it was a great time to stay when the changes came through.”

Therefore was Sr Margaret able to attend her mother’s funeral? “Oh, I did,” she smiles, “With the school behind me. It happened while I was Principal here.” Sr Margaret was Principal during a time of great change at Loreto Kirribilli. The nuns in teaching positions were mostly replaced by lay teachers. “We were on the cusp of moving to a whole new professional way of doing things.”

She remembers feeling envious of all the Music, Art and Sports activities that were burgeoning at the time, comparing it to her own childhood. “School was a lot simpler when I was a child. The campus was very simple, and we had one tiny Science room that was only used at Year 11. “Still, we had a lot of fun, in a very simple way.”

During her tenure Sr Margaret presided over the building of the new Centenary Hall and Science block. “I had wonderful parent advisory boards and I couldn't have managed without them. They were just wonderful people.” 

Sr Margaret and her fellow nuns look upon the Loreto Kirribilli of 2023 with pride. “We are just so proud of the quality of staff and the leadership. I think they work too hard! And I do think that they're actually doing a better job than we did!” she laughs. 

Sr Margaret Honner ibvm Principal 1986-1992