In 2018 the Loreto value for all Loreto schools in Australia is Justice. During the year, Loreto students across Australia have unpacked this value and what it means in their lives, their families lives, and around the world. At this time and during this week, like no other in Australia and the world, our attitudes to Justice are challenged as we observed World Refugee Day on Wednesday 20 June and we concentrated on the plight of refugees in Refugee Week.
Refugee Week raises awareness of the issues affecting refugees. It promotes harmony and togetherness and reminds us that regardless of differences, we share a common humanity. The Refugee Council of Australia has chosen #WithRefugees as the theme for Refugee Week 2018 in Australia. Today, more than ever, we need to share in the global movement to demand that the safety and rights of refugees are protected.
Refugee Week also provides an opportunity for the Australian public to recognise and better understand the courage and contribution of refugees. Hearing their stories during Refugee Week reminds us that these powerful people are defined by so much more than their past. People who today are making many valuable contributions to Australian society and who show immense courage and resilience. As part of this understanding of refugees as real people with real stories, on Thursday the LRC hosted a Books@Breakfast event with guest presenter Dr Al Muderis. Dr Al Muderis is a refugee from Iraq who now lives in Australia and is a pioneer in the field of prosthetics. His story is inspiring and important for us to connect with, so that we can understand and support the plight of refugees in Australia and understand their valuable contribution.
Refugee Week is an opportunity for ordinary Australians, advocates, faith groups, schools, politicians, organisations, artists and communities to show their support and stand #WithRefugees and this is just what we have done here at Loreto Normanhurst. Sr Libby Rogerson IBVM has prepared a letter for this week and you can read it here.
When history looks back, will it be to see them standing alone, or will it see we were standing #WithRefugees.
Last Friday I reported on my final Principal’s Country Road Trip which finished last Sunday. Our final major event was in Wagga Wagga and it was a wonderful evening, so well attended by past students, parents and staff as well as current families. It was great to connect again with so many Loreto families and it was a lovely evening where we all shared our love of Loreto Normanhurst.
I would like to thank all parents and friends who have attended our events over the years and all the families who have hosted us in their homes. The Principal’s Country Road Trips have been a brilliant experience for me personally and an important one for me as the Principal of a Boarding School. Where else would I have seen the glory of the NSW country as well as I have through the eyes of our families and friends here at Loreto. Where else would I have been able to shear a sheep, fire a gun (clay shooting), walk through wheat and canola fields that are never ending, go up in a light plane to herd goats, see beautiful sunsets on the River Darling and sunrises in chilly and picturesque Delegate. Where else would I come up close with very special animals, ride quad bikes and see grand historic country homes. The hospitality we have received has been tremendous and I am very grateful for this, not only here in Australia but from our families and ex-students overseas as well.
I am grateful for all these beautiful relationships and also tremendously thankful to Mrs Alicia Maunsell, Director of Development, and Mrs Kate Kovacs, Director of Boarding, who together have organised and navigated our events, and have been my travel companions on all trips. I give thanks for their unending generosity as well. Many thanks to everyone for all the great memories.
The LRC has been very busy this week hosting a lovely high tea and talk by special guest Susannah Fullerton who spoke to us all on the amazing beauty of reading the classics. It was a superb afternoon and Susannah enthralled us with her knowledge and love of beautiful classic books. Reading for pleasure is an important part of a Loreto education and we encourage this wherever we can. I wonder what you are reading at the moment?
Well done to our Primary Students for their efforts in the Public Speaking Competition. It is great to know that our students have these opportunities and that they make the most of them.
We have loved the rain this week but it does impact sport as you know. Please keep an eye out for any possible cancellations this weekend. Parents will have received a survey from the Sport Department this week and I encourage you to complete it. You will have received it in two formats, one in Google Forms and one in Survey Monkey for those who do not have a Google account. Please submit the survey as we are keen to gain your feedback on your experiences of sport at Loreto Normanhurst.
You were born in flight,
Your parents anxious and given no rest.
The manner of your birth calls us to open-heartedness and sensitivity to the strangers in our midst.
Help us not to flee your challenge.
The violence of the present time teaches us fear of the stranger,
reluctant to reach out to those who are different.
Grace us in these days as we seek to see you in the faces of those uprooted, weary, as they seek refuge and peace.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins