Sr Maureen Alexander, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny (SJC) will receive the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) award from Queen Elizabeth II at an awards ceremony in London, July 3.
Sr Maureen was nominated the highest honour for Grenada for her 40-plus years of services to education. She was among five Grenadian honourees and other persons from the United Kingdom and 16 Commonwealth nations named in the Queen’s 2018 New Year Honours List. The announcement was published in the London Times.
The CBE award is a British order of chivalry bestowed for contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. Grenadian website NOW Grenada reported that those who cannot travel to London will receive their awards from the Queen’s representative, Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade at a ceremony on the island.
Sr Maureen told Catholic News March 6 that while the announcement was “unexpected”, it was a reconfirmation of her conviction that nothing is more worthwhile than having given herself in total and loving service to God and people.
“For education, I thought first of so many unsung heroes past and present, whose invaluable contribution expressed in quiet, humble, dedicated service have resulted in the growth and development of our Caribbean people and seeing myself representing them,” she said.
The retired Principal of St Joseph’s Convent, St George’s said that receiving the award underlines the fact that education must continue to be understood as an imperative for continued human resource development and the way forward not merely for survival but for nurturing hope by instilling gospel values that prepares and equips present and future generations.
She added that as a teacher, encountering a child has always been an opportunity to look in their faces and see goodness, giftedness and the potential to become themselves as God intended.
She explained, “My vision as an educator was and still is to help to ignite that spark that will awaken in each child the light that leads them to encounter God and in so doing to grow in knowledge, grace and wisdom that will ultimately lead them to love and service of God and people.”
Sr Maureen cautioned young persons that although they have inherited a world marked by turmoil and uncertainties, they have all it takes within them to overcome these obstacles with God’s grace and blessing. “Stay rooted in Him. Strive to do your best,” she advised.
She reminded educators that God has placed the future in their hands to nurture and guide, and that each child comes into the world as a gift sent by God. “Instil in them the core values that would ignite the human Spirit in them that will propel them to goodness and along the path to self-discovery. Be conscious that new situations encountered in [the] delivery of holistic education require of all openness, sensitivity and a listening ear.”
Sr Maureen further beseeched young persons and educators to look to Jesus as their model adding that He is the greatest teacher.