Rosemary Goldie, the first woman to hold an official post of authority in the Roman Curia has died in Sydney, Australia aged 94.
Rosemary, an Australian who took on a special place in Church history with her appointment in 1966 as Under-Secretary of the Council for the Laity, died at the Little Sisters of the Poor, in Randwick in Sydney’s east, on Saturday, aged 94, an Australian Catholic Bishops Conference statement said.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Phillip Wilson said Rosemary had made a tremendous contribution to the life of the church.
“At a time when lay people and particularly lay women might have struggled to find a voice in Church affairs, Rosemary Goldie was making history by being the first woman appointed as a Vatican curial official,” he said.
“Her commitment to the lay apostolate was a life-long passion and her achievements helped pave the way for current generations.
“I offer my prayers for the repose of Rosemary’s soul and for all those who knew and loved her at this sad time.”
Once described as “the Roman Curia’s human microchip memory on the development of the lay apostolate”, Rosemary was also one of the few women appointed as an auditor to the Second Vatican Council, the bishops’ statement said.
One of four children of Sydney journalists, Goldie was raised by her maternal grandmother and graduated from Sydney University in 1936. For the next two years she continued her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Goldie was invited to join the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate (COPECIAL) set up in Rome by Pius XII in 1952. In 1959 she became Executive Secretary of the Committee. During this period, she worked closely with lay leaders and priests from many movements, including then-Monsignor Joseph Cardijn.
This body was the nucleus of the Council for the Laity, created by Pope Paul VI as a result of Vatican II.
Rosemary Goldie was also a founder in Australia of the Catholic students movement now known as the International Catholic Movement of Students. Goldie also worked for the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, known as Pax Romana, at the mo. She was also a member of the Grail.
Rosemary Goldie was born in Australia in 1916. At the age of 20, after graduation in her homeland, she came to Paris to study at the Sorbonne University. She took part in the activities of the women-student chaplaincy, which was affiliated to Pax Romana, Fr Antoine Sondag, former ICMICA chaplain writes.