“It had been raining, but just as the nuns arrived at the site, the sun burst through the clouds and formed a beautiful rainbow over the estate. Rev. Mother gave voice to her delight; her quest was over.” This reflection of Mother Gonzaga Barry’s sighting of a rainbow over the site on which Loreto Normanhurst would be built forms the beginning of our school’s rich and dynamic tradition. The Loreto Sisters have had an ongoing presence on this very site since establishing Loreto Normanhurst in 1897 as a day and boarding school for girls. Next year, the Loreto Sisters will vacate their community home here at Normanhurst. Over these nearly 123 years, this sacred land has been a boarding school, home, convent, novitiate, and final resting place for so many sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM). Early next year we will mark this significant point in time for our school and for the IBVM in a ceremony to celebrate and give thanks for loving and generous service of the Sisters over all these years.
This week the Loreto Normanhurst Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) received approval for its renewal, following a process of review and renewal steered by our RAP Working Group. The RAP is a formal statement of commitment to Reconciliation. A lot of work has been done over the past 16 to 18 months within the RAP framework to develop relationships, respect and opportunities in the classroom, around the school and with the community. We will continue to focus on these three key areas of action across the tenets of relationship, respect and opportunity, and to focus on embedding Aboriginal perspectives within teaching and learning across the school.
Congratulations to Year 10 who have been working to solve real problems this week in Sprint Week. Throughout the week students engaged in the sprint methodology, a very real methodology used in the business world and the world of social enterprise, to solve real problems for real clients – business problems, community problems and social problems. The complexity of the problems faced highlighted that there is more than a singular solution for resolving a problem, and therefore what is needed is the diverse perspective and collaboration that each team member brings to the process. In my conversations with the girls throughout the week, I was particularly struck by the empathy they drew on to really understand the issue in order to design a solution for those posing and experiencing the problem. What was also quite engaging as we walked past their team workspaces, was the evidence of the process of learning that was unfolding minute by minute. The workspaces provided visible indicators of the fact that ‘hard fun’ is good learning – collaboration, communication, negotiating, inquiry, giving and receiving feedback were evident in the work of Year 10 this week. So well done to Year 10 and thank you to the teachers and industry experts who have accompanied our Year 10 girls this week.
The school community has continued this week in doing what we can to learn more about the drought in NSW and what we can do to help local communities in the bush. Five Year 11 boarders from country NSW spent some time in the primary school this week, sharing their stories of how the drought is impacting them and families and communities. Their depth of understanding about farming, agriculture, the local and global economy was insightful, and they spoke with such honesty and heart that allowed the Years 5 and 6 girls to be engaged throughout the conversation. The curious and thoughtful questions the primary girls had for the boarders highlighted to me once again the richness and depth that comes from being in a boarding school and learning community of such diversity. The girls were keen to go home and talk to their families and friends about the conversation, so I do hope that you enjoyed that dinner conversation on Wednesday night. Well done also to our Year 9 Commerce classes for their work on the innovative Commerce in the Quad. All the proceeds from this great commercial experience will go to the Drought Angels to support our farmers ravaged by drought.
This Sunday, 24 November, a few our boarder families are coming to Sydney for a working bee at the home on Mt Pleasant Avenue that will be re-purposed from 2020 as accommodation for our boarder families when they travel to Sydney. The home is in need of maintenance work to clean up the gardens, remove wallpaper and old carpets and many other tasks. If you have some free time, please come along and join us for a couple of hours from 9am – 3pm. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details or phone 02 9487 3500.
World Toilet Day is celebrated on 19th November every year. To those of us with easy access to toilets, we may not think much about their value. A toilet is not just a toilet, it’s a life-saver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker. Toilets save lives, because human waste spreads killer diseases. World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which promises sanitation for all by 2030. The theme for 2019 is “Leaving No One Behind” which is about drawing attention to those people being left behind without sanitation. Whoever you are, wherever you are, sanitation is your human right; and yet, today, 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation. How can anyone lift themselves out of poverty without sanitation? It is about justice for all people. So, let us pray:
You have given all peoples one common origin.
It is your will that they be gathered together
as one family in you.
Fill our hearts with the fire of your love
and with the desire to ensure justice for all.
By sharing the good things you give us,
may we secure an equality for all
our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
May there be an end to division, conflict and war.
May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.
Ms Marina Ugonotti