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Catholic primary school teacher
Catherine Wajwoda was drawn to
write a short reflection on her journey
with cancer, linking to her vocation
as a Catholic primary school teacher
through the symbol of an apple.
Catherine says she continues to be
grateful for God’s nourishing spirit and
the healing love that helped her survive
stage four cancer.
Just as a teacher is grateful for a juicy red apple
gifted by a student I am extremely grateful for
God’s presence in my life. During my journey
with cancer I felt like a bruised old apple but as
I regained my strength I understood that God’s
spirit had nourished me. Just as an apple can
lift a teacher’s spirit I felt spiritually nourished. I
was given the gift of courage which helped me
persevere and endure the pain and helplessness
that cancer brings. I came to long for the
soothing, healing balm that is God’s love.
God’s spirit dwells within us all. This spirit
nurtures life. It can take away the hurt and pain
of chronic illness. God’s spirit leads us to trust in
our creator and the certainty of God’s love. This
is a refreshing and hope-filled experience. Just
as an apple brings strength to a teacher, trust
comes from relationships that are positive and
encouraging. Trusting in God’s love is hope filled.
We express God’s transcending love in the deep
care and concern we have for all creation. By
sustaining each other we are the hands of God.
This in itself offers hope. Through God’s grace we
can be healers. We nourish and walk humbly with
the suffering when we acknowledge God-with-us.
When I see the image of an apple as the symbol
for bowel cancer, I recall my journey with cancer.
A journey which led to a change of mind and
heart. God’s creative spirit opened my eyes to all
the immense beauty of life. I found a God I could
relate to. God’s Kingdom was revealed to me and
was powerfully present through my healing.
The humble apple is a symbol for so much that
has and continues to be a rewarding part of my
life. I am grateful for my life as a cancer survivor
and I get immense joy from witnessing a growing
love and respect for all of God and creation.
Through my students and their creative spirits
and love for life, God continues to be revealed.
This is a wondrous gift and the greatest gift any
teacher could ever hope for.
Faith serves Lucy well
Resilience, faith, and a schoolyard romance were
among the topics covered by Lucy Cornes when
she addressed Sacred Heart College students at
the annual laureate assembly last month.
Paying tribute to school dux Tyler Kelly who
achieved an ATAR of 99.80, she said to achieve
such heights took more than smarts, “it takes a
well-rounded, self-motivated person, who can
apply themselves diligently to achieve personal
A member of the SHC class of ‘99, Lucy recalled
meeting her husband of 10 years, former AFL
footballer Kane Cornes. “We started dating when
big schoolyard news at the time. Our story has
been one of happily ever after, three boys and a
wonderful life later – not without challenges, but
wonderful all the same.”
She said since leaving school some things had
gone to plan but others had not.
In 2006 her eldest son, Eddy, was born with
congenital heart disease. “Almost ten years on
we have learnt a lot because of him, mostly the
importance of resilience and perseverance,”
she said. “When times are tough you must fight,
sometimes from the darkest depths. From the
darkness there is always light.”
Lucy said her faith had served her well in
challenging times when it was encouraging to
think there was “something bigger than us all, a
greater power, a divine guide, to whom we can
hand our greatest fears to, who we can trust
“It’s also nice to have faith when things are going
well, someone to feel gratitude towards. Having
faith has also helped me to see the good in
people, one of my favourite mantras is ‘the divine
in me, sees the divine in you’.
Lucy warned students that “99 percent of
everything you see on social media is fake, photo
shopped or filtered”.
“If you scroll through an Instagram feed that
makes you feel envious, self-conscious or
unworthy, stop. Everyone has a story and most of
all share the highlight reel on social media.”
Her advice to students was: “Find three passions;
something to work on, something that makes you
fit and healthy and something to serve others.”
Her final words were those of Mother Teresa:
“People are often unreasonable and self-centred.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people will accuse you of ulterior
motives. Be kind anyway,
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be
The good you do, may be forgotten tomorrow. Do
Give the world the best you’ve got and it may
never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end it is between you and
God. It was never between you and them
CONGRATULATIONS: Lucy Cornes with SHC
dux Tyler Kelly.
A former dux of St Ignatius’ College
has become the second student in
the school’s history to be awarded
a prestigious Rhodes scholarship.
Yen Pham (pictured) graduated in
2010, achieving perfect scores for
English Studies, Classical Studies
and Philosophy. She was awarded
academic and co-curricular full
colours of the college and was also
presented the Remington Pyne
Memorial Prize for Classics and
the F P Mullins Memorial Prize for
Saint Ignatius’ College was
delighted to learn that Yen has been
selected as one of 89 scholars from
across the globe for a scholarship
to study at Oxford University this
year. She follows in the footsteps of
Justice John Doyle (class of 1962)
who received a Rhodes scholarship
Since graduating Yen has studied
law and arts at the University of
Adelaide and is currently majoring
in English at Harvard University.
A daughter of refugees and a
first generation Australian, Yen
is a committed volunteer. Her
community service has previously
included tutoring refugees and
migrants in English at the Adelaide
School of Languages; assisting
people with disabilities at the
Strathmont Centre and working
with the St Vincent de Paul Society
on Fred’s Van. In New York she has
worked as an intern at an education
non-profit, served as an overnight
shift volunteer at the Harvard
Square Homeless Shelter and was a
co-leader for a Habitat for Humanity
trip to Alabama.
When Yen moves to Oxford later
this year she will pursue a Master
of Studies in English (1900-present)
and a Master of Studies in Film
“Where every child matters” will be
the theme of Catholic Education
Week being held in all South
Australian Catholic Schools next
While every day is “Catholic
education day” – this specific
week will focus on celebrating the
significant role Catholic schools
play in educating young people in
From May 13 to 20 various events
will be held in schools throughout
the State, with Catholic Education
SA also launching its Charter for
Staff in Catholic Schools in South
The May issue of The Southern
Cross will include a special feature
on Catholic Education Week.
Catholic Education Week
Mass for Deceased Bishops
Wednesday April 6, 2016
St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral
For more information contact:
Archdiocesan Events Manager
T: 8210 8220
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