Sister Shirley Sedawie (23/9/1924 to 31/12/2011)
was an original member of the Ecumenical Affairs Commission when it was
first established by Cardinal Knox in 1967. She was instrumental in
building bridges of
understanding between the Catholic Church and Jewish people in Australia
beyond after World War II.
Born in Sydney, her grandparents had migrated
from Syria. She was admitted as a member of the Sisters of Our
Lady of Sion in 1946, and joined the teaching staff at St Mary's Primary school
in Ascot Vale.
At the time she entered the order, she was given the name Sister
Callistus, and it was under this name that Archbishop James Knox
appointed her as the only religious sister on the Commission in 1967.
The minutes indicate that she returned to her baptismal name in June
1969. In December of that year, it is reported that she was invited to
be a part of the planned "Council of Christians and Jews" in Victoria.
Thereafter she was always a guiding force on the Commission for the
Archdiocese's relation with Jews. Her obituary in the Sydney Morning
Herald was co-authored by Rabbi John Levi with whom she formed the
Catholic-Jewish Liaison Group in 1973.