Today is Loreto Day, our school feast day. A day where we celebrate what it is to be community of values and action. Our day commences with a prayerful Eucharist celebrated this morning by Bishop Peter Comensoli. Year 11, who has prepared the whole day, will then take us on a journey of celebration, fun and felicity with stalls and fun activities culminating in the Loreto Day Concert this afternoon. Year 11 has done excellent work raising our awareness about the plight of the women, children and families in Nyumbani, Kenya who we support today. They have helped the whole school act in the Ignatian and Loreto way by understanding our faith filled response to the plight of others in the world and moving this to firm and considered action. I commend Year 11 on their energy and hard work. I look forward to us all celebrating together the joy and wonder of our extraordinary community as we draw together to be people for others just as Jesus, St Ignatius and Mary Ward taught us through their lives of love and service.
The Women of Influence Evening this week was an excellent night of storytelling and clear messaging from three diverse and inspirational ex-students, Kerry-Anne Walsh, Annie Crawford and Katharine Sainty. All three women spoke of the diverse paths their lives have taken and the influence of others and their Loreto Normanhurst education has made in that life and journey. They are true Loreto women who talked about the need for failure, grit and flexibility. I was enthralled by their stories and thank them for sharing their stories with us.
This week at Assembly, Rosie Warren (Year 12) told us her story. It was extremely moving. Rosie has been on a journey to discover her heritage and in that search she has discovered that she is Indigenous. In Reconciliation Week, Rosie wanted to speak out about what that means for all Australians and Indigenous Australians. Her message of justice, awareness and reconciliation were extremely powerful. I have included part of her speech here for you to read and I thank her for being brave enough to tell her story and for her willingness to share it with the wider community.
“This change starts here. With us. Already on my very short journey I have experienced some of the stereotypes based on the appearance of Aboriginal people. Things like; but you can’t possibly be Aboriginal…you’re not dark enough. Well, I stand here today as a proud Dharawal woman asking for your help. I want to send the message that Aboriginality isn’t about the colour of your skin, but a pride in your culture and family. I want Australians to be able to understand that just because an individual does not meet the stereotype of dark skin and dark hair, does not mean that they are less of an Indigenous person. I want people to understand that a person with blonde, brown or red hair and fair skin can be Aboriginal; as your colour simply does not define you. Your culture runs deep and is entwined in your blood. It is this that makes you Aboriginal.
Reconciliation begins here; with you, as young women and men and as Australians. It is up to us, as the younger generation, to overcome the disparities that are present within our society as a result of past injustices such as dispossession and dislocation, erase stereotypes that are associated with Aboriginal people and move towards a future where we can see a decrease in the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
It is through this move towards reconciliation that we can generate a wide-spread acceptance of Aboriginal individuals, not just a tolerance. Mahatma Ghandi once said that “our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation”. I call each and every one of you to walk alongside your Indigenous sisters and move in a direction where we can accept differences and embrace the unique knowledge and wisdom that the Indigenous culture and Aboriginal people have to offer.
‘Our History, Our Story, Our Future’
How will you make a difference?”
– Rosie Warren, Year 12
Today is my last day at the desk as I take sabbatical leave for the coming weeks returning to my desk on Monday August 8, 2016. As reported in a previous newsletter I am looking forward to participating in some rich learning experiences both here in Sydney and at the London Business School where I will attend a course titled “Leading Businesses into the Future”. I will also have some retreat and reflection time with a retreat in Bath UK, and some rest time with my daughter and new grandson here in Sydney and my son in London. My son and I may even get to Wimbledon! I thank Ms Ugonotti for taking on the role of Acting Principal in my absence. Without her generosity and willingness to step into the role I would not be able to take this very necessary and valuable time for renewal.
St Patricks’ Breastplate
Christ with me, Chris before me, Christ behind me.
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins