Dean of Development and Alumni

In today’s increasingly complex and busy world, most people rely on a community for the everyday necessities of life. However, here at Loreto Normanhurst, there is more to community than a shared geographical location or practical functions – there is something really lovely, and quite indescribable, about being part of the Loreto Normanhurst community.

Our story is like no other – Mary Ward with her vision over 400 years ago that “women in time to come will do much”, the foresight of Mother Gonzaga Barry IBVM for the education of young women, and the incredible work continued by the Loreto Sisters today.

Over the weekend we witnessed the power of community as we welcomed our extended Loreto family to Normanhurst for Loreto Federation 2018. During the course of the event, there were around 400 people from Loreto schools across Australia, and beyond our borders, who attended various sessions that spoke to the theme ‘Be the Change’. It was a weekend of purpose – full of inspiration, challenge, and practical action, with robust discussion and thought-provoking presentations by outstanding speakers.

There were many Loreto Normanhurst ex-students who shared their talents and gifts at Federation. The final session on Sunday, in particular, titled ‘Taking on the Change’, featured three Loreto Normanhurst ex-students who have founded organisations or created movements that have impacted change on issues of today – one of the pinnacles of a Loreto education. Stephanie Lorenzo (’02), founder and former CEO of Project Futures, which raises awareness and funds to combat human trafficking; Michelle Leonard OAM (’88), founder, artistic director and conductor of Moorambilla Voices, a nationally-awarded program which provides life-changing opportunities for kids in the country to sing, dance and create incredible performances; and Rhonda Daly (’71) who is reshaping global farming practices for ethical food production, aligned with sustainability and economics, through YLAD Living Soils, a company that she co-founded in 2002.

Often, visitors to the school will comment that there is ‘something special’ here at Loreto Normanhurst; some describe it as having a ‘happy’ feel. A recently graduated ex-student, when asked how she would describe Loreto Normanhurst, answered “it is a place in which I can be unapologetically myself.” Another ex-student, from the Class of ‘48, said “It is very hard to actually describe the ‘Loreto Spirit’ but we who are part of it know what it is.”

Although it holds different  meanings to  many,   the gift of being part of the Loreto Normanhurst community offers each of us within it a   wonderful sense of belonging.  There is much ‘growing together’ happening here everyday.

How fortunate we are to be part of such a strong, nurturing, felicity-filled community, so authentically and ‘unapologetically’ Loreto Normanhurst.

 

Ms Grace Paraino

Dean of Development and Alumni