A Loreto education is designed to develop people for others. Our own Mission Statement at Loreto Normanhurst states that we are a school that “celebrates a joyous Christian faith which grows from reflection and leads to justice”. As our students prepare to meet the challenges of the world, it is important that they not only recognise and become aware of the plight of others, but that they become compassionate young women who will endeavour to assist others where possible – whether it be through prayer, awareness-raising, or in other forms of action.
Having undertaken a full, deep and meaningful discernment process, our Year 11 students have been continuing to lead the school beautifully through the awareness-raising phase for their chosen cause for Loreto Day, the Nyumbani Children’s home and village in Kenya. Their advocacy for this cause, and the actions that they are taking every day to support it, is inspirational to behold.
As Principal, I am proud of our school community’s open and profound commitment to social justice. We are involved in a wide range of community service initiatives from a local level such as the Exodus Foundation and the House of Welcome, nationally in the form of the Far North Queensland Experience, the Loreto Rural Partnership, and the Yarrabah Immersion Program, and internationally via Mary Ward International and Caritas. It is a delight to see not only our current students, but also their families, as well as many of our ex-students, so committed to making a difference to the world in which they live. I include for you below an email which I received from Tatendaishe Mwanza (Year 11) regarding her recent community service experience with other friends from Loreto:
“On the 30th of May, Charlotte O’Brien, India Simpson, Ysabel Say, Rosie Xu, Meg Conlon and myself had the opportunity to volunteer at The Richard Geeves Centre Autumn Fete. Usually community service can be quite a daunting event but we were welcomed with open arms at the event and being able to help out on the day by running the Kids Stall was a lovely experience. However Charlotte, Rosie, Ysabel, India any myself were able to meet Barbara McCarthy who ran the uniform shop at Loreto for 19 years. The truest highlight of the day was being able to meet two Old Loreto Girls whose daughters will be attending Loreto in 2018. It was wonderful being able to talk about all the amazing experiences we’ve been able to take part in such as Music Festival and Loreto Day. Also being able to discuss with them life at Loreto now and how it has changed since they attended the school was enriching and how their daughters will be able to experience the same things we have. On behalf of all the other girls we would like to say thank you for creating an environment in which we have the possibility to access so many opportunities and greater strengthen our future as women. The Richard Geeves Centre is honestly a wonderful place filled with wonderful people and the memories we made on Saturday shall be absolutely cherished.”
Tatendaishe Mwanza (Year 11)
Earlier this week I had the joy of taking part in the annual Loreto Principals’ Retreat which was held in Sydney. This is a wonderful time when the Principals of all eight Loreto schools in Australia gather together in prayer and reflection, just as Mary Ward and her circle of friends did over 400 years ago. Led by Sr Angela Slattery IBVM, our retreat this year was centred on the Year of Mercy and the Value of Felicity, and how both impact our work as leaders of our Loreto communities. The retreat time has been a period of renewal and spiritual nourishment and I am grateful to be part of a community and charism that values this experience for its leaders.
I take this opportunity to thank all parents for their support with the incident which occurred this week.
Divine Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
st. francis of assisi – 13th century