Director of Welfare of CatholicCare in the Diocese of Wollongong for 29 years, in which time she dedicated herself to the development and delivery of social services for families, children, the aged and people with a disability.
She played an integral role in the development of state-wide Child Protection church protocols as a member of Professional Standards Committees in NSW. In the course of her career, she pioneered the establishment of Catholic Welfare Australia (now Catholic Social Services Australia) and co-founded Centacare (now CatholicCare). She was a board and committee member of the National Catholic Association of Family Agencies, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission, NSW Catholic Social Welfare Committee and the Australian Catholic University.
Kathleen provided support to victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Wollongong. She is a strong advocate for training and professional development of religious and diocesan personnel on child protection, particularly screening and selection protocols, monitoring and supervision systems, policy development for the prevention of abuse and best practices to protect the most vulnerable.
Kathleen received a Member of the Order of Australia as part of the 2007 Australia Day honours list. Upon her retirement in April 2014, Kathleen was awarded a Papal Honour by Pope Francis as a Dame in the Order of St Gregory the Great