Sister Maria Cunningham RSC OAM worked as a nurse, a nurse educator and a leader of Catholic health care ministries for all of her working life. She was instrumental in the establishment of Catholic Health Australia. She set an example for others by committing her life to service of the sick and the poor through working in hospitals, prisons and with mothers and children. In recognition of her life of service, Catholic Health Australia awarded her the inaugural Sr Maria Cunningham Lifetime Contribution Award in 2011, and named the award after her.
Nominations will be called for each year for the award. The award, to be announced at the annual CHA awards dinner during the national conference, will be given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the Church's presence in health and aged care. This person will have inspired and mentored others working in Catholic health and aged care ministries, and through their work or influence have enabled the healing love of Jesus to be felt by people in need. Not only will this person have made an impact within Catholic ministry, but they will also have had an impact on the broader community.
Nominations should be made confidentially to the Catholic Health Australia CEO, and the CHA Stewardship Board will determine an appropriate winner to be announced each August.
Recipients of the award have been: