In 1999, my second year here at Loreto Normanhurst, I was asked to talk at the first staff day of the year about Freedom. That was the value that was celebrated that year, as it is this year too. This is what I shared then … it is both a personal reflection on my own experience as I grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era, as well as a reflection on biblical spirituality, the way to Freedom. Although on that occasion I didn’t specifically set out to talk about Freedom as understood by Mary Ward, what I shared is actually ‘very Mary Ward’ – and this is not surprising as she, of course, was firmly centred in the biblical tradition.
Fifteen centuries ago, a man called Augustine, who came from Hippo in North Africa, finally freed from the turmoil of a long spiritual search, uttered these beautiful words: You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you!
There are many ways of talking about freedom and I’m sure each one of us here has our own understanding of what freedom is and what freedom isn’t. This morning I am going to share with you something of my own vision of freedom and humanity. I am going to begin with a portrait, the portrait of a country in which the struggle to be free was played out on many different levels. In one sense it is unique and in another it is not. Such things exist in many parts of our world, but it has been my experience and has had a profound effect on who I am.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Liturgy and Spirituality Coordinator