It was a very smooth send off for our Year 9 students last Sunday morning as they embarked on their Far North Queensland Experience. From all reports students and staff are having a fantastic experience so far, visiting the Daintree Rainforest, the Yarrabah Arts Precinct, Mossman Gorge, Undara camping as well as doing community service in Cairns. They have seen so many amazing sights, and met beautiful Aunty Syb and Uncle Laurie, Aboriginal Elders of the area who have shared with them the rich indigenous history of Australia. Please keep Year 9 and all staff who accompany them in your prayers as they move to the halfway mark of this wonderful experience.
Our Year 12 students continue to progress through their Trial HSC Examination period. The girls appear to be taking the exams in their stride, day by day, and there is a strong sense of calm across the campus. Please continue to keep Year 12 and their families in your prayerful intentions.
I’m looking forward to visiting boarding families and friends of Loreto Normanhurst next week with Mrs Kate Kovacs, our Director of Boarding, on the final stage of the Principal’s Country Road Trips for 2019. We will be visiting Mudgee, Dunedoo, Coonamble, Wee Waa, Narrabri, Gunnedah and Port Macquarie and will be back in Sydney next Friday. The strength and tenacity of community in our country areas is something which has struck me on the visits this year. Last weekend our boarders grew in community here through the Community Weekend program. The activities of the Community Weekend focus on building relationships and community spirit in an atmosphere of joy and celebration. The girls are together all the time and we always work on what it means to be a community and to grow and nurture our boarding culture, so that the girls who call Loreto home for 36 weeks of the year feel happy and valued by all.
It was a joy and a privilege to host Dr Elaine McDonald at Loreto Normanhurst this week as part of her Australian Speaking Tour. Our community has been enriched by Dr McDonald’s presence and nourished by her insights into the prophetic legacy of Mary Ward. Dr McDonald was able to spend some time with Year 11 students on Tuesday, reflecting with them on how they can interpret the legacy of Mary Ward for their time and place. Mary Ward herself had a gift for recognising the gift of others, something which our Year 11 girls have been discerning this year in their formation and preparation to take on the leadership of the school.
Congratulations to Leila Mangos, Year 10 Kendall, who has been successful in her application to be a Student Leader for the 2019 Catholic Earthcare Youth Eco-Summit to be held on Friday 30 August. Leila is part of the team from across the Catholic education community in Sydney who will see, judge and act on the environmental issues that matter to them. We know that Leila will make a lasting and significant contribution to the Eco-Summit, striving to do what is urged of us by a Loreto education – to seek truth and do justice.
I look forward to attending the Year 11 Performance Evening Journey Through Life tonight and encourage you to come along if you can. Journey Through Life is a series of group devised pieces created and performed by our Year 11 Drama class. Well done to the Year 11 Drama students and thank you to the Drama staff for their ongoing dedication which enables these experiences to be possible for our students.
Congratulations to Tahlia Moses, Year 7 Aston, and Frances O’Brien, Year 8 Maye, who have both made it through to the next round of the Legacy Public Speaking Competition. Good luck to all students playing sport this weekend. I hope the games are enjoyable and competitive.
Congratulations also to Tayla Moore, Year 5 who has qualified for the 2019 School Sport Australia Track and Field Championships in Darwin next month. Tayla competed at the NSWPSSA Primary Athletics selections trial at Homebush this week and finished 2nd in discus with a throw of 29.37m to qualify her for the championships – well done Tayla!
Recently I congratulated two Year 12 students and two ex-students on receiving their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and it gives me great pleasure to also congratulate Lara Al Amri, Year 12 Mulhall, who also attained her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award this week. I am so proud of all our girls for their commitment to complete this highest level of the program. Well done Lara, we look forward to the formal ceremony that will take place in the coming months.
You may have noted commentary and analysis in the media this week in relation to the issues of homelessness in Australia, including the related issue of social and affordable housing. It is estimated that 116,000 Australians are homeless on any given night, the largest number since the census began estimating the number of people who are homeless. Yesterday was the feast day of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop. We give thanks for her life and for her continued influence for good among the people of Australia. One of her quotes which remains forever relevant is that reminder to us to “seek first the poorest, most neglected parts of God’s vineyard.” When I came across those words again yesterday, I reflected on the statistics and stories of lives affected by homelessness. Let us allow these words to penetrate as we do what we can to work towards a just and dignified response to this complex issue of our time.
You filled the heart of Mary MacKillop with compassionate love for those who are in need and those at the margins of our society.
Teach us to embrace what she pioneered: new ways of living the gospel that respect and defend the human dignity of all in our land.
Inspired by her example, may we be led by your Spirit to reach out to our brothers and sisters.
Give us generous hearts to respond to the cries of those who are poor in our community and in our world.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.
Ms Marina Ugonotti