Acting Principal’s Message
Term Two has continued with pace and energy. It is a term accented by wonderful events that celebrate the Loreto Normanhurst identity and community, best lived out and experienced on Loreto Day which was held on Friday June 3. I share with you some of the reflection delivered by three Year 11 girls at the beginning of the Eucharist as they contextualised the day for us.
“When I was three my dad took my sister and me and flew us half way across the world with two suitcases in hand and no money to meet my mum in Australia. From that day till now my parents have worked so hard to be where they are now… and in these 13 years I’ve begun to understand what being privileged means for me. Privileged – that’s what I am, that’s what we all are… those of us who are privileged should try to touch the lives of others – because we are all called to be the difference that our world needs.”
“This day, whilst it is one of fun and excitement, is a day when we as Loreto people can appreciate being a part of such a dynamic and inclusive school community and think about our brothers and sisters who aren’t as fortunate. This is how we celebrate our identity and our great Loreto tradition. By being people for others… our education gives us the tools to reach out to those who are marginalised, to give a voice to the voiceless and to strive for better, both within and beyond the Loreto community.”
“Today we are the women who need to do much in response to the issues of our time… we are called to act with compassion and responsibility. We do not exist in isolation. We are part of humanity and humanity’s needs call out to us… As we look at our world – we become aware of the needs, the suffering, the injustice – and we are asked to repair the wrong, repair the injustice and alleviate the suffering of humanity. We are all called to do our little bit. And together we will do a lot. Justice is not an option, rather it is our moral responsibility as children of God.”
Year 11 have since moved straight into the process for discerning the Student Council for 2017. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Year 11 yesterday to speak with them about this and I ask all members of our community to keep Year 11 in your prayers as they continue through this process.
Outside of our Loreto community it is also time for discernment of another kind as our nation moves towards the date of the federal election. As is custom during a federal election, the Australian Bishops have released an Election Statement entitled A Vote for the Voiceless. I include a link here for parents. In light of this I also include for your reference a piece by Fr Frank Brennan SJ.
I hope and trust that all families did enjoy the long weekend with their daughters and that this was a time of renewal and rest for you all. While the girls enjoyed the extra days of rest, staff continued in our program of professional learning for 2016. Our annual Staff Retreat and Formation day was held on Friday June 10 and on this day we took up Pope Francis’ call for active stewardship of our Common Home, as outlined in his encyclical Laudato Si’, which incidentally was released a year ago this Saturday. The approach of the day was experiential, structured by spiritually guided walks in various locations across Sydney which allowed us to explore what it means for us to be an Ecology-centred school in the Catholic/Ignatian/Loreto tradition. It was a day of reflection, dialogue, community-building, and of being one with creation.
At assembly this week Stephanie Sardinha delivered her speech about “What it means to be a modern day feminist.” Stephanie provoked us with her considered and well-formed arguments around what it means, doesn’t mean and could mean by challenging established social norms and conventions. It was this speech that saw Stephanie proceed to the Semi-Finals of the Plain English Public Speaking Competition tonight and we wish her well for this next phase.
Thank you to all those who attended our ‘Night of Dreaming’ – The New Master Plan for Loreto Normanhurst 2016 – 2045 on May 30. The night generated great discussion and ideas which have since been collated and analysed for emerging themes. As Ms Watkins had mentioned in a previous newsletter, there will be opportunity for further comment by members of the community going forward. One such opportunity will be through a survey which will be sent to parents, staff and students this week. Responses to the survey will contribute to the creation of a Master Plan vision for the future of our school. I ask you to keep an eye out for that email and to accept the invitation to respond.
In light of the tragic event of the massacare that led to the futile loss of life in Orlando over the weekend, I offer this prayer of peace below.
All over the world, Lord,
people give their lips to peace
and their hands to war.
Nothing shows the absence of Your love
as neighbour set against neighbour.
Give our world peace.
Help us to speak with words that sow love and not hatred.
Help us to give our hands to peace and not violence.
May our lives bring peace and joy to others and to our world.
Ms Marina Ugonotti