On Monday we celebrate the feast day of Australia’s first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
The Mary MacKillop website provides not only much rich history of this special woman but some lovely reflective pieces.
A recent post reminded us that we are currently in the Year of Mercy and that if we are serious about following Jesus, mercy must be a way of life. It draws the link between St Mary MacKillop and our pope, stating that they both challenge us to be people of mercy.
Quoting both Mary and Pope Francis, “seek first the poorest and most neglected parts of God’s vineyard” (Mary MacKillop, 1900), “That which makes mercy alive is constant dynamism to go out searching for the needy – and the needs of those who are in spiritual or material hardship.” (Pope Francis, 2016), the reflection asks us to ponder who are the “poorest and most neglected” and how can I make a difference in their lives, even the life of one person?
The prayer to Mary MacKillop may help us in our response to these questions.
Ever generous God,
You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop
To live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
And constant in the hope and encouragement
To those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.
We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit
So that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with
Courage, trust and openness.
Ever generous God hear our prayer.
We ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.
We take inspiration from the life and work of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and Pope Francis.
A privilege that I experience as Principal of Loreto is that students share with me their passion and commitment for social justice and for making a difference in the lives of others. Examples this week have included an email I received from Olivia Langford in Year 8, who informed me that her family are involved with volunteering at Bear Cottage (the children’s hospice at Manly) and that she would love to harness the school’s involvement. Olivia has put together a proposal for fundraising at the school and is looking forward to sharing this with me. I also received an email from Eloise Doherty, who was selected to go to Timor Leste in the recent school holidays with UN Youth. During her two week stay, her group participated in a wide range of activities, including teaching, living in various communities and spending time with Australia’s ambassador to Timor Leste. Eloise is hoping to raise awareness amongst the girls to help maintain the flow of much-needed contributions to provide basic resources for our neighbours.
I recently attended a conference which addressed some of the significant issues facing education today, which Loreto Kirribilli’s administration have already recognised and begun addressing. The key note speaker, Dr Jan Owen AM, CEO of Foundation for Young Australians, highlighted the changing nature of employment and the impact of automation, globalisation and flexibility on work availability and opportunity. She stated that:
- 7 out of 10 jobs will be disrupted as a result of automation and that 60% of students are training for jobs that are radically changing as a result of automation
- 1 in 3 Australians are in unstable jobs and it is predicted that young people will experience 17 jobs in 5 different industries
Dr Owen explored the need for enterprise skills to ensure competitiveness and success in today’s employment market. Necessary skills include financial and digital literacy, critical thinking and problem solving, confidence, resilience and agency, creativity and innovation, project management, collaboration and communication. I was delighted to see these skills in evidence at our 7-11 TAS (technological & Applied Studies) Expo this week. Our TAS courses reinforce the 21st Century skills that Dr Owen promotes.
The Australian Government is supporting innovation, creativity, collaboration and communication in education and the workforce through its recent launch of The National Innovation and Science Agenda www.innovation.gov.au
“Extraordinary technological change is transforming how we live, work, communicate and pursue good ideas. We need to embrace new ideas in innovation and science, and to harness new sources of growth to deliver the next age of economic prosperity in Australia. The National Innovation and Science Agenda is an important step in the right direction.”
Anna Dickinson (Mrs)