The Southern Cross : July 2012
July 2012 Page 15 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross feature | Sister Cyprian was kind and gentle and known for handing out holy pictures, while Sr Paul was renowned for her no nonsense kind of classroom. These are the recollections of former Whitefriars Catholic School student, and now teacher, at the Woodville Park primary school Luisa Farinola (nee name Mancino), 57. "I remember doing handwriting by dipping pens into the inkwells and using blotting paper," she says of her time at Whitefriars from 1960 to 1967. It was an education era where students could walk home for lunch, the canteen was stocked with produce donated by local families, milk was served to every child in the morning, students wore a scapula and marching was "big". Luisa's fondest memory was visiting the nearby convent for retreat. "We used to get mint lollies from the Sisters there." Luisa returned to the school as a student teacher in 1975 and has been in continuous employment there since graduating a year later from Teacher's College. "I'm currently teaching Year 4/5," she says. "I have had seven principals. I'm teaching the children of the students that I taught in my early years!" She believes not much has changed in the spirit of the school. "It's welcoming, accepting of everyone, gives a feeling of belonging. Even though there's been a lot of modification to the buildings, it still feels that all the buildings belong to the same period, nothing is out of place." Principal Mary Hemmings, a Covenant Josephite and the first lay person to lead the school in 2008, said that while the Sisters of Saint Joseph have a 100-year- old association with the school, the school itself was set up in 1912 by the Carmelite Fathers. The order of priests, known as the Whitefriars, was administering the Port Adelaide Parish, of which Woodville was a part. Ms Hemmings says Whitefriars Catholic School started off in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church at Woodville Park with about 17 students until a purpose- built school building opened next door to the Church in 1933. Today, the school has more than 460 students enrolled representing 24 countries. "This school has a great sense of community with a strong multicultural richness that adds a real dimension to our school," says Ms Hemmings. "We are very keenly continuing the Josephite tradition of responding to the needs of all people and of welcoming and having respect for all." Ms Hemmings, who taught at the school from 1989 to 1995, said the school was entirely staffed by nuns up until the 1960s and the last Josephite Sister to head the school was Sr Mary Mercer four years ago. "As a school we celebrate Mary MacKillop in many different ways and times," she says. Throughout the school's building evolution, school structures have been named after key figures and places in the Mary MacKillop story. But school chaplain Sr Liz Koziol rsj says it goes beyond the built structures, with students and staff deeply involved in what it means to follow in Mary's footsteps. Sr Liz says the school has several Josephite Associates on staff, including deputy principal Barbara Ahern who is a committee member of the Josephite Education group. The school's Young Josephites group has raised funds for Josephite works in Peru, East Timor and remote Aboriginal communities; two staff each year attend the Josephite Colloquium in Sydney; and the person of Mary MacKillop is explored regularly through the school newsletter, staff meetings and parent sessions. "Whitefriars is special because of the people that make up the school community -- families, students and staff embracing the Josephite spirit," she says. "Though not led by a Sister, I believe our school has a very strong Josephite feel to it." The school will celebrate its centenary with a special Mass on Mary MacKillop's Feast Day on August 8 and on October 21 with a Back to School day for former and current school families, old scholars and staff. For more details on centenary celebrations contact the school on 8445 1895, email to info@whitefriars. catholic.edu.au or visit the website at www.whitefriars.catholic.edu.au. Sisters live on at Whitefriars Up until the 1960s, Whitefriars Catholic School in Adelaide's western suburbs was fully staffed by nuns. Now in its centenary year, the school is working hard to celebrate its strong links with the Mary MacKillop tradition as more and more students graduate without having witnessed a Sister in the classroom. REBECCA DIGIROLAMO reports. TIMELINE: These students with Whitefriars Catholic School principal Mary Hemmings have had parents and grandparents attend the 100-year-old school: (clockwise from front) Chloe Bileckyj, Antonio Pollice, Chantel Dwarka and Mariel Kempt. Below right: former student and now teacher Luisa Farinola in 1964. Below left: The first class of Whitefriars Catholic School in 1912. Source: The Parish of Woodville/Findon by Clarrie Bell.