Newsletter 9: 18 June 2019

Dear Colleagues

In the wake of the Champagnat day celebrations held in our Marist Schools across the country, the contribution of Marists to Catholic education in Australia has been worthy of reflection. Importantly and happily, the growth of Marist education is also a feature of Marist life and ministry in Australia. “Growth” was the oft used word on Friday 7 June, when Marists from around the country gathered to celebrate the official blessing and opening of the exciting new development at Sacred Heart College in Adelaide.

The “Champagnat Campus” was blessed by the Most Reverend Daniel Eugene Hurley, Bishop Emeritus of Darwin. Bishop Eugene, a Sacred Heart old scholar, welcomed the creation of the newly refurbished, attractive and engaging contemporary learning spaces. Significantly Bishop Eugene emphasised most strongly during the Liturgy, the importance of belonging to the Marist family and the contribution of the Marists to Catholic education in Australia. Recalling his own association with the Marists since his early days as a young boarder at the College during the 1950s, Bishop Eugene noted the importance for people, young and old, to experience a strong sense of belonging. In the context of our Marist faith community, Bishop Eugene urged all of us involved in Marist education to ensure young people in our schools understood with conviction their importance in the eyes of God through the experience of belonging to a welcoming, nurturing, faith filled community.

Present at the opening was a fellow student of Bishop Eugene from those decades past, Professor Dennis Ralph. Denis’ support for this most significant development, as Chair of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, has been enormously influential, constructive and appreciated. Present also at the opening and honoured, were representatives from the Good Samaritan Sisters who for 63 years led and supported the provision of Catholic education to young women in south west Adelaide, including Marymount College, which amalgamated with Sacred Heart College in 2018. The amalgamation created the opportunity for coeducation from Years 7-12 at Sacred Heart College. This $14 million project, which will increase the capacity of the College to provide quality Catholic education for young people in Adelaide, has been funded entirely by current and future parents, and supporters of Sacred Heart College.

Testament to the Catholic community's confidence in the leadership of Mr Steve Byrne and the quality education offered by the talented and committed staff, is the growth in enrolments and the demand for places evident in applications received for future years. Reflecting on what has been achieved over the past 5 years of significant change at the College, Steve Byrne identified with gratitude key people most instrumental in achieving this outcome, including: Mr Paul Teisseire (College Council Chair); Ms Shana Bennett (Assistant to the Principal Champagnat Project); Ms Kate Kilpatrick (Head of Champagnat Campus); Mr Trevor Freeman (College Finance Manager); Mr Peter McCabe (College Operations Manager); Ms Helen O'Brien (former Director of CESA); Professor Denis Ralph (Chair SACCS); Mr Mark Corrigan (CESA Principal Consultant); Brother Michael Green fms (former National Director of Marist Schools Australia); Mr Paul Herrick (former Regional Director Marist Schools Australia); and Mr Bernard Kenna (Director of Business Marist Province of Australia).

Sacred Heart College is a significant school in the history and life of Marists and the Church in this country. In the Principal’s address following the blessing, Steve Byrne noted:

“As a place of acceptance, belonging and holistic development we are committed to empowering our young people to be the best they can be within a community connected by courage, a love of learning and service to others.”

As a Marist family across the nation, let us pray through and with Mary for the continued success and growth of this wonderful Marist College for many years to come.

Sally Dillon