Welcome back to 2017. We warmly welcome new students, families and staff to the Loreto Normanhurst community. I hope over the Christmas and New Year break families were able to have some relaxation time together. Our hallways are full of laughter and great conversation once more as we commence this historic year of celebration of the 120 years of Loreto Normanhurst education.
This year we will look back and give thanks for the incredible tenacity and forward thinking of the IBVM and all those that have worked with them and been a part of this vibrant community over its 120 years. Each generation has set down their footsteps, their hopes and their dreams for the young women who have walked through the doors as have the young women themselves. Each of us throughout those 120 years has had an impact and it will be wonderful to celebrate this together through the many events planned for the year.
As well as a 120 year celebration we will focus on the value of Freedom. This year together we will concentrate on a better understanding of the value of Freedom, always aware that Mary Ward’s mission was for the greater glory of God. Her expression of the value of Freedom, along with Sincerity, Felicity, Justice and Verity we treasure, and just as her examination of these values brought her closer to the person of Jesus, as a Catholic/Christian community this is what we strive for again this year. Throughout the year we will be challenged to understand, reflect upon, and grow in this value of Freedom. This will take courage and commitment. The Value of Freedom will present many challenges to us as a community. Challenges I am sure we will meet with grace and resilience.
We will again in 2017 focus our attention on the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and its three pathways of a Faith-Centred School, a Person-Centred School and an Ecology-Centred School. These three areas will be defined and reinforced throughout the year in line with what we value as a Loreto school and as a constantly reinventing school that meets the needs of our students in the 21st Century. We will finalise work on the Master Plan this year, action the feedback from the Sports Review, finalise work on a Parent Portal, just to name a few bigger items. As well as this we will care for our students, nurture and grow them, challenging their thinking and their actions so that our community can be the best it can be and our young women can be ‘fully alive’ as St Ignatius Loyola suggests.
It is always so exciting to have one of our Ex-Students named in the Australia Day Honours list. This year we congratulate Ms Michelle Leonard, AO Recipient for service to the community and to the performing arts. Michelle is the Founder and Artistic Director of Moorambilla Voices and the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus. Our Ex-Students continue to do incredible work in the community and we thank them for putting the gift of a Loreto education to such important work for others.
This year like no other, our world needs us all to be focused on the plight of others and on Truth and Justice. As a Loreto Normanhurst community we must be prophetic about the values we share and hold true to them and educate our young women to do the same. We are blessed here right now, in this place we share, and we have a responsibility to remain hope-filled, resilient and as a force for good. As the year commences I hope we can all renew our commitment to this for the greater glory of God represented in us all.
Loving God, creator of us all.
We give thanks for the many opportunities given to us to develop the gifts we have been given.
In this year of Freedom, may we grow in acceptance of ourselves and others. Help us to serve one another humbly and to work to secure an equal opportunity for all.
May we work sincerely, harmoniously and collectively in the pursuit of happiness and freedom, for being free is a continual journey fuelled by love, felicity and acceptance.
In challenging all that restricts our God–given freedom, may we let go of fear and open our hearts to love so that we may truly find the courage to be free. May we find resilience in the face of challenge.
Let it go. Let it be. Only then shall we be truly free.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins