The Southern Cross : March 2011
March 2011 Page 17 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross schools | ́ AQUINAS COLLEGE ́ IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2012 ACADEMIC YEAR AQUINAS COLLEGE The Catholic Residential College for University Students If you are coming to university in Adelaide and considering residency at a Catholic University College in 2012, then you should complete the process of submitting an application as soon as possible and certainly before 30 June 2011. ---AQUINAS OPEN DAYS--- SATURDAY,16APRIL 2011 SUNDAY,17APRIL 2011 9AM --4.30PM You are invited to meet with Professor Denis W. Ralph, Head of Aquinas College and tour the College with current students For Applications and/or enquiries: Ms Judith Kirby College Secretary Ph: (08) 8334 5001 e m a i l : email@example.com 1 Palmer Place, North Adelaide, SA 5006 Most students of Port Augusta's Caritas College know well the story of Sister Laurencia Honner rsj. Barely out of her teens, Sr Laurencia died of horrific burns to her body after a kerosene lamp caught fire and spilled over her. She was one of the pioneering teachers sent to Port Augusta by Mary MacKillop to teach the poor and underprivileged. Sr Laurencia, 18, was preparing for the next school day when she was burnt. The 133rd anniversary of her death will be celebrated by the college of 600-plus students on March 11. The school's principal, Sr Catherine Mead rsj, says she holds a soft spot for Sr Laurencia. Like Laurencia, it is the love of the open country and the pursuit of helping children and their families in remote Australia that brought Sr Cath to the "cross- roads of the outback" known as Port Augusta. "I wanted to teach and I wanted to teach rural students," says Sr Cath, who turns 50 this year. "I had some very good teachers and I was inspired by them that I could make a real difference to children's lives and family life." Sr Cath was first posted to St Joseph's School in Port Lincoln in 1983 as a 22-year-old just out of teaching college. It was around the same time, says Sr Cath, that she felt a "gentle" pull towards a religious life. Having been surrounded by Mercy sisters throughout her secondary schooling at Mercedes College, she felt it a natural progression. But it was the brown habit of the Joeys who eventually caught her eye. "I didn't know much about Mary MacKillop, but I knew that she went out to teach in the country and she was an Australian sister and that appealed to me." It was in Port Lincoln, as a budding educator with a love of sport that she lived with several Josephite sisters. "I was inspired to continue pursuing a journey of spirituality and education in that first teaching appointment." During spirituality and theology formation in Sydney and a short stint teaching at MacKillop College Werribee in Victoria, Sr Cath had professed her initial vows. She returned to St Joseph's in Port Lincoln in 1996 as the school's principal following a four year stint teaching at Mary MacKillop College in Kensington and a number of years working with the Young Christian Workers in Adelaide. While always being active, these days her playing field is at the base of the Flinders Ranges, where she enjoys bush walking and the odd round of golf. Sr Cath has been principal at Port Augusta for the past 11 years and is one of only a handful of St Joseph Sisters heading Mary MacKillop's original schools across Australia. Port Augusta's Caritas College has been lucky enough to have a continuous line of Josephite principals since it began in 1871. "Many people external to Port Augusta have a negative view of it....but I think it is the best kept secret. I love the extraordinary lives of students and their families arising from their commitment to being 'so down to earth ' "I've always had that yearning for the country," she says of her long tenure in the bush, 'the resilience of the Port Augusta community reflects so much hope that sustains daily life." Her mother Shana was born in Quorn in the southern Flinders Ranges, north of Adelaide. Though born in Adelaide, Sr Cath recalls spending many of her school holidays in and around the mid-north of the State visiting relatives. "Very early on, I had this sense of family and children in remote areas deserving the very best." And it shows. Sr Cath can name almost all of her 630 students and their families. And her commitment to Mary MacKillop's legacy of inclusive education for all continues to be the priority. Sporty Sister A pocket rocket on the netball court, this Sister has been breaking down stereotypes for decades with her vibrant, honest and earthy spirit. Catherine Mead rsj tells Rebecca DiGirolamo (a former student) what led her to the chalkboard and the Sisters of St Joseph. INSPIRED TO TEACH: Above: Sr Cath shows students the Caritas College School Candle for 2011, commemorating 140 years of Josephite Education in Pt Augusta. Pictured from left are Jordynn, Jorgia, Chloe, Dayna, Lucy, Chloe and Jacob.