Sister Cecilia Wiltshire just had a fortnight she’ll never forget! Awarded New South Wales NILS Volunteer of the year at the National NILS Conference one week, made a Member of the Order of Australia the next.
While the announcements were contained over a number of days in June, the recognition was the culmination of years of hard work, both for the No Interest Loan Scheme and the community more broadly.
Under her guidance as Chairperson, Macarthur NILS commenced in 1998 as one of the first four NILS programs in NSW. Sister Cecilia wrote guidelines for the commencement of Macarthur NILS, developed its Constitution, and secured start-up capital by negotiating with funding bodies and private donors.
The passion and drive that saw her steer Macarthur NILS through fragile early days, was still there when the program celebrated its 2,000th loan in 2015.
Whether it’s chairing the Management Committee, leading outreach programs or establishing partnerships with other organisations and Government Departments, Cecilia rolls up her sleeves and gets on with things, gently and with understanding and dignity for all. In this way she typifies the NILS community.
Her colleagues say her enthusiasm is a gift for those who meet her, and helps ensure Macarthur NILS stays bright, alive and innovative.
Sister Cecilia’s volunteer work isn’t limited to NILS. She’s the Chairperson of the Presentation Sisters’ Care Team, she volunteers for Meals on Wheels and is a committee member of St Vincent de Paul Society’s Compeer program.
She helped establish the Nagle Centre in Campbelltown, was Director of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, Director/Chairperson of Aged Care for Southern Cross Care and, in the 1990s, was the Congregation Leader of the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga.
We’ve had the pleasure of seeing what Sister Cecilia has managed to achieve at Macarthur NILS – that alone deserves recognition. But hers has been a life dedicated to helping others, and that’s why she has become a deserving Member of the Order of Australia.