On Friday 31 May, College staff and students celebrated the Feast Day of Saint Angela Merici. A special College community Mass was also held, celebrated by Fr Emil Milat and Fr Josh Scott. As this year marks 60 years since the beginning of the College, the Mass reflected on the College’s past, present and future journey from Canberra Catholic Girls’ High School in 1959, to Merici College in 2019 and beyond, with a special focus on the six Houses and the Founding Orders. Present at the Mass were Sr Angel Jordan, Sr Genny Ryan, Sr Jane Keogh and Sr Karen Muir.
In the Opening procession, the 60th Anniversary candle and white lillies were carried forward by Claudia Lang of Year 9 and Liana Wattam of Year 7 who share their birthday with St Angela Merici’s Feast day on 27 January. Our Sisters representing the founding Orders also brought forward 60th Anniversary candles in our school colours to represent St Angela’s everlasting shining light. Today, Angela Merici encourages us to cultivate the vine entrusted to us. As we are aware, the cultivation of this vine began in 1959 when six religious congregations, accepted Archbishop Eris O’Brien’s invitation to begin this first Catholic high school in Canberra. The Archbishop’s vision was of a gospel-centred school:
- inclusive on all levels,
- a place welcoming all,
- embracing not just one group of teaching sisters but many.
The first of the religious orders to respond were:
- The Good Samaritans
- the Brigidines,
- Sisters of Mercy,
- the Josephites,
- the Presentation Sisters
- and the Ursulines.
It was in the following years that the Sisters from the Dominicans, the Holy Faith, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the Sisters of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and many lay staff, continued the cultivation of this vine over the years to this present day.
In the Gospel, Jesus says “I am the vine, you are the branches.” St Angela Merici encourages us to respond to Jesus’ words by inviting us to continue to ‘cultivate the vine entrusted to us’ - living out this year, of our school motto, Fidelitas.
The students responded enthusiastically and reverently throughout the Mass, commenting afterwards that they were so proud to be part of the Merici tradition.
At the conclusion of Mass, the Christian Service Learning Program awards were presented to more than 100 students for 50 hours, 100 hours and 150 hours of completed Christian Service. Tess Carlton and Jade Esler, both Year 12 students were each presented with the St Angela Merici Award; the fourth and fifth recipients of this award since the program’s inception five years ago. To be considered for this award, a student must have achieved a combined total of 150 points across at least twop categories – from the following four areas of the College; Sport, Co-curricular, Cultural and Academic, in addition to their Gold Angel Award of 150 hours of Christian Service. The recipient must also have attended all major Liturgical events and community days. We congratulate Tess and Jade and all our award recipients on their achievements.
A video reflection of the past, present and future of our College Houses was presented to the community (https://youtu.be/g4o0E5EN8mk) and students were excited to learn that they would be contributing to a very special part of history as new House crests were unveiled which further honour the wonderful women of our founding Orders.
Throughout the day, students remembered St Angela as an educator of women from all classes of society. They participated in a Kahoot competition and reflected on St Angela’s love and sensitivity in serving others and her deep understanding of God’s love for all which continues to influence Merici students as they follow her vision. A fiesta was held in the afternoon with each House holding a stall which included food stalls, carnival games, baby photo competition, face painting, a disco and bubble soccer. We would like to thank our House and Vice Captains for organising the stalls.
May we all continue to be inspired by the words and actions of St Angela Merici, to “challenge people to love life, have hope, be faithful and build futures more wondrous than you dare to dream”.
Full image galleries: