• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: PR00431

Potter, Norah Mary

(1849 – 1927)
  • Born 21 February, 1849, Cloontamore, Longford Ireland
  • Died 13 November, 1927, Brisbane Queensland Australia
  • Occupation Religious Sister, Teacher


Mother Patrick Potter was born in Ireland and educated at Cloontagh National School and Longford Convent School. In 1866 she began her novitiate as a Sister of Mercy at Athy Convent, Kildare. Upon arrival in Australia in 1868, Mother Patrick joined the Queensland Sisters of Mercy congregation which had been established by Mother Vincent Whitty, making her profession of vows at Brisbane’s All Hallows Convent in 1869. Appointed to All Hallows’ school, Mother Patrick contributed greatly to the religious, academic and cultural development of the students. In 1879 she was elected to the administration of the Brisbane congregation of Sisters of Mercy, where she acted as Superior or assistant, for the next 48 years.


After a few years’ teaching in Ipswich, Queensland, Mother Patrick was appointed to an administrative role at All Hallows School (the first secondary school for girls in Queensland). In contributing to All Hallows’ agenda, she made a particular contribution to the school’s music program. She was a friend to her students, offering advice and encouragement, promoting higher education and preparing candidates for junior examinations at the Universities of Sydney and Queensland. In 1889 she introduced Latin into a course which already included French, Italian and German.

Following Mother Patrick’s election to the Brisbane Sisters of Mercy, she assisted in establishing convents and schools in areas as remote as Charleville and Goondiwindi. Mother Vincent Whitty’s idea of building a Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Brisbane was enthusiastically adopted by Mother Patrick who brought about the purchase of the South Brisbane land in 1893.She had planned for a children’s wing on the site before she died in 1927. The Mater Children’s Hospital opened in 1931 and was dedicated to her memory.


Published resources

Archival resources

  • Fryer Library, The University of Queensland
    • Michael Potter Papers
  • John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection
    • 7309 Photographs of the Funeral of the Rev. Mother Patrick 1927