Last Sunday in the Chapel 53 students of Year 11 took up the very special ministry of the Church as they were blessed and commissioned as Eucharistic Ministers. As Father Michael Stoney SJ said to me ‘this speaks volumes about the great spiritual health of Loreto Normanhurst’. In the last three years alone this makes over 150 students from Loreto who have taken on this ministry and who are ministering in their parishes and home towns. Thank you to these young women who are prepared to lead our community in this area of Faith in the coming year and to Ms McCullough who has trained them for this ministry and will support them as they minister to us in 2017.
The staff of Loreto Normanhurst take part every year in the Work and Welcome program. This means that they offer a portion of their wages to support a newly arrived refugee to gain paid work experience at our school. The program is growing with more staff taking part in this very important social justice program each year. Somayeh Kargar from Iran has been working with us in a paid capacity in the Business Office during Term 4. Part of the program asks Somi to speak to the school assembly of her story. Somi left her home in Iran with her husband making it to Dubai only to be sent back to a war torn and unsafe land. She and her husband made their way to Australia and spent 8 months in detention on Manus Island while their application to come to Australia was processed.
After the assembly Ms Ugonotti spoke further to Somi and she said that there are no words to express the love and gratitude she feels towards the Loreto Normanhurst community for having given her the opportunity to work at the school this term.
Ms Ugonotti told Somi that as a community we – staff and students – have been working hard to write letters to our Prime Minister and Members of Parliament to have the detention of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru brought to an end and for a more compassionate response o be found. When she heard this some tears welled in her eyes, she held Ms Ugonotti’s hand and she said “thank you. Please thank the girls and the staff for me. Thank you.”
The Work and Welcome program is open to any business, not just schools. In fact Loreto Normanhurst is the first school in NSW to take up the program. I hope some parents who are influencers in their companies may consider this incredibly worthwhile program. I provide the link to access the information here.
November 25 is White Ribbon Day. A day where we stand up and speak out about Domestic Violence. White Ribbon Australia is focused on primary prevention action which is implemented before violence against women occurs and it aims to stop the likelihood of men and boys using violence against women and girls. This prevention action does this by addressing the root causes of violence.
Examples of primary prevention include:
- public information and awareness raising campaigns
- educational programs in schools
- programs in workplaces
- Government policy establishing frameworks and standards for preventing violence against women and promoting gender equality.
Through education, awareness raising and creative campaigns, preventative programs, partnerships and political advocacy, White Ribbon Australia highlights the positive role men can play to stop violence against women and enables them to be part of this social change.
It is important for us as a Loreto community to continue to support the growth of positive relationships and to demonstrate this each day. On this White Ribbon Day why not as a family discuss the alarming statistics in Australia of domestic violence and ways to be advocates for peace and for change.
At the end of this year we will farewell staff who will be leaving Loreto. Of special significance are three members of staff who are leaving after many years at the school. Madame Michele Lapin, LOTE teacher and previous Head of LOTE has been at the school for 27 years of distinguished service, generating a love of the French language to all those in her care. Mrs Jacqueline Adams, Deputy Director of Boarding, has worked at Loreto for 26 years of generous service to the school as a TAS teacher, Head of House and Deputy Director of Boarding. Mrs Adams has shown her versatility in working in many areas of the school. Her gentle nature and genuine care for the girls was enduring in her daily work. Mrs Janet Stacey, Head of Mullhall House will be retiring after 17 years at the school. Her work as Maths teacher and Head of House has been both generous and full of joy. All three women have worked diligently to develop and grow the students in their care. They have made great contributions to the school for which we are very grateful. We wish them well as they leave the Loreto Normanhurst community.
Well done to all of our Loreto mums who had a great weekend in Mudgee last weekend. 99 Mums headed off to Mudgee for a weekend of great relationship building and fun. Thank you to the organisers for putting together such a lovely time where our mums could connect. I believe that there is a Dad’s weekend being planned for 2017 as well as another Mum’s weekend. How fantastic!
Good luck to all who are competing in the final rounds of sport this weekend.
As we commence our preparation for the Christmas Season with Advent this Sunday may we pray that we are touched by the simple message of Christmas – that of a new born baby and a ‘yes’ to attending to God’s plan for us.
A voice of one that cries in the desert:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight!
Let every valley be filled in, every mountain levelled,
winding ways be straightened and rough roads made smooth,
and all humanity will see the salvation of God.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins