Sister Brigid Arthur was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to social welfare, particularly with asylum seekers and refugees, and to Catholic education.
Bishop Philip Huggins described her as 'a beautiful soul who persisted in caring for some of humankind's most vulnerable people and does this with a practical kindness—always kindness.' In her own words, Sister Brigid said that her motivation for decades of work with refugees and asylum seekers came down to:
A certain stubbornness, probably, that there are a lot of things wrong and while we can do something about them we shouldn't give up, we should do it. I think I’m motivated by the fact that no one of us, and no one organisation or government, has the right to set up structures and adopt policies that are really cruel and that often don't recognise that the people who are being victimised by those structures and policies are quite vulnerable and need to be protected and not punished.
Unconditional love. We know what that's about with our own children; we give them unconditional love and support. But what about the unconditional love that comes from Sister Brigid? I had only known her as Sister Brigid; I didn't even know her name was Brigid Arthur. How is it that Sister Brigid can give unconditional love to the lost, the lonely, the broken, the poor, the refugees? Perhaps she even gave unconditional love to a parliamentarian walking a lonely road.