Head of House – Mornane

Head of House – Mornane

Safe as Houses

The global pandemic has made everyone run to the safety of their houses. Mandatory lockdown brought a new and previously untested dimension to modern life. Remote learning and working, multiple siblings, mums and dads all sharing home spaces, technological challenges and limited resources all tested and strained our relationships. To counter the strain, we’ve recently spent more on household items, improvements and workspaces in an effort to make our houses more safe, comfortable and adaptable to a forever altered future.

Despite the unprecedented change in our lives, we found a new depth in our relationships and realigned our focus on things that mattered the most. What made the unbearable bearable was the collegial spirit, the faith that ‘we are in this together’ and the assurance of support from the people closest to us. Dr. Robert Waldinger, a renowned psychiatrist, is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development. One of the longest longitudinal studies of humans ever conducted, it focuses on happiness in adult life. His TED Talk (viewed over 35 million times) attempts to answer a question that I am sure we all have pondered at some stage in our lives – “What makes a good life?” (Fran, 2020)

“Our biggest finding, and the one that surprised us the most, was that the happiest people were the people who had good close relationships with other people,” says Dr Waldinger. (Waldinger, 2015)

The good life is built with good relationships. Period.

Dr Robert Waldinger


This year, all Loreto Houses have had the same ‘pandemic makeover,’ with noticeable changes to create safe, comfortable and adaptable environments. Changes to regular routines with year-based Tutor Groups, Virtual Music Festival and House Times via Zoom have provided opportunities for the girls re-evaluate and focus on what is most important in their House community: meaningful relationships with one another. What has impressed me most in my first year as Head of Mornane House is the love and collegial spirit of the girls. This has amplified their care for one another, strengthened the House community and brought about closeness and deep happiness amid adversity. A testament to this spirit was Mornane House receiving the inaugural People’s Choice Award at Music Festival and being named the House Champion for 2020. 

The safety of our Houses and fostering good relationships just might be the keys to living a good life. As Dr Waldinger says, “One of the things we found is that feeling like there are people in the world who really have your back, who will be your safety net… matters a whole lot for not just happiness, but for health.” (Waldinger, 2015)


Mrs Sonia Prees

Head of Mornane House



Becker-Phelps, L., 2020. 10 Benefits Of Happy Relationships. [online] WebMD. Available here.

Fran, J., 2020. I Spoke To A Renowned Psychiatrist About Happiness. Turns Out I’ve Been Doing It Wrong – ABC Life. [online] Abc.net.au. Available here.

Waldinger, R., 2015. What Makes A Good Life? Lessons From The Longest Study On Happiness. [online] Ted.com. Available here.