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The late Professor Therese D’Orsa. (LinkedIn)

Yarra Theological Union, a college of the University of Divinity, is honouring the late education and mission leader Therese D’Orsa by naming a new education bursary in honour of her contribution to the Church.

The Therese D’Orsa Mission Education bursaries are available to support students and research into missiological thinking and action. 

D’Orsa was the first Professor of Mission and Culture at the Australian Institute of Theological Education (BBI-TAITE) and was dedicated to the evangelising mission of the Church throughout her extensive career as a Catholic missiologist and educational leader.

A lifelong learner, the seeds for D’Orsa’s doctoral research were sown during her tenure with the National Missionary Council (NMC) which led to her PhD thesis: “Witness and Teacher – The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace 1968-1987: A Study of the Ideology of a Catholic church Agency.”

After a career which saw her hold several significant roles in education leadership and mission in Victoria and New South Wales, D’Orsa and her husband Jim joined BBI’s academic staff in 2008. Between 2016 and 2022, they wrote and taught the BBI Masters’ program, Leadership and Theology. D’Orsa retired from teaching in 2022 to focus on her academic writing.

“While at BBI, Therese and Jim endeavoured to situate ‘mission and education’ with a strong academic footing by publishing books that gave voice to Australian Catholic educators and by ensuring that these publications had a solid missiological orientation,” the YTU website says.

“Over the past decade, the venture known as the Mission and Education Series produced thirteen books. Addressing topics where mission intersects with education, the series encompassed themes as expansive as leadership, curriculum, pedagogy, the role charism plays in Catholic school leadership, teacher formation, and re-contextualising faith.”

At the time of her unexpected death in May 2023, a further three books were at various stages of development.

The new bursaries, administered by Yarra Theological Union (YTU), have been created to fund studies at YTU and Catholic Theological College.  Applications are now open.


Applications open for Therese D’Orsa Mission Education Bursaries (YTU-University of Divinity)