Director of Mission
As parents, one of the biggest decisions we make is what school we send our children to. At the very heart of this decision is our innate understanding that we acknowledge how essential education is to life and the enormous impact education has on shaping our children and society.
Many of us hope our children will achieve good grades in their learning and be rewarded with an ATAR that opens doors and presents choices for their future endeavours. However, that is just a small part of what we really want for our children. We want them to be happy. To be safe. To be loved. To be able to love. To have values that will help them make good choices each and every day. To be forward and outward looking. To care for others and not just themselves. To find meaning in the everyday mundane and messy world we now live in.
When you chose Loreto Normanhurst as your school of choice, you were saying yes to more than just academic results and achievement. You were saying yes to the holistic education Loreto Normanhurst places so much emphasis on: Faith, Academic, Community and Extra-curricular; the FACE curriculum. You were saying yes to wanting your daughter to have the influence of a learning community that, at it’s very core, is love: love of God, love of self, love of others and love of creation. The education of girls was, is and remains, a core aspect of the IBVM charism.
At a recent conference of the IBVM (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and CJs (Companions of Jesus), two branches of Mary Ward’s Institute, they reflected on what education means in their schools across the world today, regardless of boundaries. As they did so, they prepared some reflections for Mary Ward Week. The Sisters said they wanted education “to be rooted in Christ, in Mary Ward and Ignatian spirituality.” That they wanted teachers in their schools “to respond to the needs of the students under their care, inspire them and light their path.” The two branches of the Mary Ward Institute both agreed that “academic achievements are not enough” and educators should “direct the students to their destiny.” The Sisters reminded us “to be relevant as educators, we need to play our role well to enable the students to attain their goals in life and to help them feel a sense of belonging to God, to us and to the society.” Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading this filled me with such deep admiration and pride. Pride, because Loreto Normanhurst has firmly had these beliefs at its core for over 120 years. Admiration, because 400 years ago, Mary Ward identified the need for women to be educated and, against all odds and in the face of much adversity, this mission has been realised. All of us in this community whether parent, student, educator or worker are part of Mary Ward’s mission and are constantly walking in her footsteps. Her vision is realised in each Loreto person as they make their way through life armed with the education they will need to be all those things we hope for.
This year is the Year of the Youth and Pope Francis reminds young people (and all people) … “Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths. To blaze trails that open up new horizons capable of spreading joy, born of God’s love and wells up in your hearts with every act of mercy. To take the path of the “craziness” of our God, who teaches us to encounter him in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the friend in trouble, the prisoner, the refugee and the migrant, and our neighbours who feel abandoned. To take the path of our God, who encourages us to be politicians, thinkers, social activists.” Pope Francis, World Youth Day Vigil with Young People, 30 July 2016.
This year in the Year of Justice at Loreto schools around Australia, what better reminder is there to the youth who are the hope for the future?
Come Holy Spirit of this Great Southland
Inspire our entire faith community,
as we prayerfully discern new horizons for spreading joy
in the lives and communities of the People of God.
Come Holy Spirit of Youth
Fill the hearts of young people with the hope and love of Jesus Christ;
enliven our community with the creativity, energy and joy of youth;
guide us together, as we strive to offer God’s mercy
to those who feel abandoned or outcast.
Come Holy Spirit of Faith
Empower our community to be courageous;
unite your people as witnesses of love.
Walk with us, as we blaze new trails of discipleship;
accompanying young people as we renew the Church together.
Come Holy Spirit of Vocation
Stir within young people an awareness of God’s call;
reveal to us the graces of young people;
guide us all, in finding our place and raising our voices
To build a civilisation of love.
Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, friend of the young, pray for us.
Mrs Libby Parker