Sr Catherine Warner was principal of St Joseph’s Parish School, Kununurra in north western Australia, 825km south of Darwin and 3214km north-east of Perth, from 2008 until 2011. Kununurra comes from the English pronunciation of Gunanurang in the Mirrawong language meaning “Big River”. Kununurra is a key Kimberley town with mining, agriculture and tourism attracting people. The Mirrawong people have been in the area for thousands of years. Many of their children attend St Joseph’s where the motto of “One in Christ,” emphasises the importance of respect for the dignity of each person.
Catherine is an experienced principal who was invited to lead St Joseph’s by the Catholic Education Office in Perth. She was in Kununurra for four years. In that time she witnessed the disadvantage of Aboriginal children and worked very hard to get them to attend school regularly. Children are bussed to school in the mornings, given breakfast and tutoring. They are taken home after school and encouraged to seek education. This is the most difficult part of the education ministry as disadvantaged parents often fail to see the value of education.
Catherine is sustained in this Nano work by her own spirituality and her belief in continuing the work of Nano in education.