The Service of Thanksgiving for much loved, respected and admired Old Girl Ambassador Mignonette ‘Pat’ Durrant, OJ, CD will be be held on Saturday, December 14 at the Hope United Anglican Church , 221 Old Hope Road at 10am.
This is our tribute to Pat.
Ambassador the Honourable M. Patricia Durrant, O.J., C.D
Mignonette Patricia Durrant, “Pat”, was a distinguished St Andrew High School Old Girl, member of the group of girls who attended St Andrew High School in the 1950s. There was no Common Entrance, no GSAT, no PEP … there was a Scholarship Examination and her scholastic brilliance was heralded early as she received one of the two scholarships per parish awarded to students who sat this examination for entry to high school from primary and preparatory schools. Pat was a conscientious and meticulous student, and St Andrew girls who were at school with her remember her as kind, dignified, ladylike and as a prefect they admired and sought to emulate. The friendships she made at school, especially as a boarder, have been genuine and lasting.
Pat, along with several of her St Andrew High School classmates attended the University College of the West Indies where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She later did graduate work at UWI and Cambridge University in the UK. She became a career diplomat and those who worked with her recall her care, her eye for detail, her methodical approach to work – characteristics which made her very successful in her chosen career. Her many career achievements have been catalogued, and we note these with pride. We especially record her appointment as the first person – male or female – to be appointed United Nations Ombudsman, in the rank of Assistant Secretary General, and she held this position from 2002 until her retirement in 2007. Staffers at the UN still speak of her with fondness and appreciation for her competence, humanity and humility.
It is worthy of note that even after retirement, she gave of her time and expertise to orient and coach aspirants and new members of the foreign service staff to the intricacies of serving overseas and the protocols associated with such service.
But this was Pat – for her and many of her classmates, the school motto of “Life more Abundant” was a reminder of the privilege high school education was, and a recognition that this privilege carried an inescapable responsibility. The School, the Parent Teachers’ Association and the Old Girls’ Association all express appreciation for the contribution she has made to the school’s development; mainly through her work, for ten years, as Vice Chair and a stalwart member of and contributor to the St Andrew High School Foundation. She was identified as a Trailblazer in 2010 and named one of the school’s “Saints” in 2015.
Pat was a very sociable, yet very private person. Those who cared about her and about whom she cared had a loyal, thoughtful friend and advocate. Her illness was relatively brief, but the concern, the accolades and expressions of love, appreciation and support for Pat reveal so much about her character and the very large influence she has had in the lives of her colleagues and friends. Some of their comments are:
A quiet, graceful person.
A beautiful, gentle spirit.
What a wonderful role model Pat has been for us all.
Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things we ever have to do.
Pat was a lady of quiet dignity and confidence.
Impressive career and so unassuming through it all. Well done Pat – you leave behind a large footprint.
Pat was a deeply cherished sister-in-Christ and wonderful model of the Life More Abundant. We were all the better for having had her in our lives.
Remembering Pat – her grace, charm and commitment.
We will always remember her with great fondness – a wonderful person; calm, gentle, caring, so willing to share her thoughts and advice with everyone. There is so much more to say about her, and it will be said. Dear Pat, rest in peace
Pat’s thoughts were with SAHS right up to the end of her life. Saturday November 23 was the last day she was able to communicate with visitors. And her conversation was about St Andrew High. She reminded one of her visitors that the 95th anniversary of the school was coming up and that plans needed to be put in place to mark this special milestone. She spoke at length with a group of five SAHS Old girls who reported later the following:
So glad we visited her on Saturday afternoon. She was totally engaged, and we spoke about the fact that the educational system had not served our nation well and of course we spoke about our school and the superior education we received there.
So happy that we were able to see her and recall the excellent education we received at St Andrew High School for Girls. Pat spoke glowingly of our teachers of Latin and French!!
She has left a great legacy. Happy to have been with those of us who got in on praise for our school and teachers.
We recognise, honour and celebrate Pat – her professionalism, loyalty and service, her early and continuing commitment to Life ore Abundant, and the caring and consideration which she has always displayed towards her family and so many of her friends, her colleagues and church community. As we grieve, yet celebrate her life we remember words from poet Bernice Wilson:
Death will not conquer our love
As we are bound by memories
And our love will flourish.
We each have our unique memories of Pat which bind her with love in our hearts. May her soul rest in peace
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