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From the Rector
Today the Catholic Church celebrated the life and mission of one of the great Saints, who made an enormous contribution to the spread of the gospel of Jesus in his own time, and whose followers are still a very active force for good in the Church and in the world. I refer to Saint Dominic Guzman (1170-1221). He belonged to a noble family in Spain, and chose to respond to the call of God to dedicate his life to preaching the truth of the Gospel to the people of Spain, France and Italy. The Order of Preachers (or Dominicans) have many thousands of members; men and women, religious and lay people, dedicated to education, missionary work, prayer, study and contemplation, in many countries of the world.
The Dominican Sisters used to run a primary and a secondary school for girls in Hobart (Tasmania), and in 1973 they joined with the Salesians (who ran a primary and secondary boys’ college at the time) to establish ‘Dominic College’, a school from Prep to Year 10, under the patronage of both Dominic Guzman and Dominic Savio. It’s now one of the schools in the ‘Salesian’ (Don Bosco) tradition.
In a few days’ time, we will celebrate the feast of Saint Mary of the Cross (Mary McKillop), the first Australian-born Saint of the Catholic Church, and National Patroness (with Mary, Help of Christians). Her story is certainly inspirational. Born in Fitzroy (Melbourne) in 1842 into a poor migrant family from Scotland, she had to work from an early age, ending up in South Australia taking care of the children of a family. Here she came into contact with a very zealous priest (Fr Julian Tennyson-Woods), who encouraged her to gather together a group of young women who would commit themselves to the Catholic education of children in isolated areas of Australia. From this small group, a congregation of Sisters (the Sisters of St Joseph) developed and grew. Even today, the Sisters of St Joseph are very active in many areas of the ministry of the Church; from education to social work, from health care to missionary activities…the list goes on.
There are many religious Orders, Congregations and Societies in Australia (and even more in the world), all creating a real tsunami of good works, service, compassion and care for the poor, the neglected, and the underprivileged, bringing the real love of God not just to the members of the Catholic faith, but to any one in need!
Sometimes the media can paint a picture of a Church that is negative, aloof, judgemental, abusive, lacking compassion, etc. But just think, what would our country (or the world) be like without all the schools, parishes, universities, hospitals, health care facilities, charitable works, religious convents and monasteries and places of prayer and retreat? Christian Churches are making an enormous contribution to society. Their failures and mistakes do not destroy all the good that they do.
And we should all be proud to be part of this wave of goodness!
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB