Dame Sister Pauline Engel – a life dedicated to education


Sister of Mercy Dame Pauline Engel died on 15 November at North Shore Hospital in Auckland.

A vigil of remembrance was held at Carmel College Hall in Milford on Sunday, November 19th. Her Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Joseph’s Church the next day.

Engel was a teacher at Carmel College from 1965 to 1983. She taught history, English, geography and religious studies.

She was principal of the College from 1983 until 1991.

After retiring as principal, Engel served for some years as Auckland’s Bishop Patrick Dunn’s vicar for education, with a particular interest in seeing that Catholic schools, integrated into the State system, remained committed to their special character.

In 1995, she was made a Dame for her services to education.

In her time as principal, she had a sticker above her door which said: “Girls can do anything”.

“Pauline was passionate about the education of girls and young women, with a commitment that earned public recognition in honours conferred by the State,” said Denis Horton.

“She rejoiced to see former pupils progressing in their careers, especially when they made a difference to other people’s lives.

She believed in mercy and its care for the poor and for the environment.”

Engel worked with Horton when he was was the editor of Auckland’s diocesan weekly, Zealandia.

Current Carmel College principal Chris Allen, who has been involved with the school as a student, parent and teacher, said Engel had been a part of every step.

“She taught me here, she was the one who offered me a job and appointed me as a teacher and then was very good at making me believe I could become the principal here,” Allen said.

“She mentored me into this position.”

Allen has fond memories of Engel, who she described as feisty and determined.

“She was very passionate about the education of women and was a very learned women herself.”


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