From the Rector
This week Peter Coffey and I attended a meeting for the principals and rectors of the Jesuit and Companion Schools in Australia (JACSA). JACSA is an association of Jesuit and companion schools across Australia that facilitates networking and formation in Ignatian pedagogy among students and staff.
The Jesuit-owned schools in Australia are Xavier College Melbourne (est 1878), St Aloysius’ Sydney (est 1879), Saint Ignatius’ Riverview (est 1880), Saint Ignatius’ Adelaide (est 1951), and Redfern Jarjum College (est 2011). These are schools directly owned and governed by the Jesuits in Australia. The companion schools are John XXIII in Perth WA (est 1977), Loyola College Watsonia Vic (est 1980), Saint Ignatius’ Geelong Vic (est 1991, partnered 2007), Loyola Senior High Mt Druitt NSW (est 1993), Xavier Catholic College Harvey Bay Qld (est 2002, partnered 2009), and Xavier Catholic College Ballina NSW (est 2000, partnered 2016). These schools have agreed MOUs with the Jesuit Province in Australia.
These Jesuit schools are part of an international network of schools. Worldwide, there are nearly 900 Jesuit schools similar to Saint Ignatius’ College, which educate about 860,000 students. Our tradition goes back to the time of Saint Ignatius. Juan Polanco, Ignatius’ secretary, wrote to Antonio de Araoz, Provincial of Spain, in December 1551 about reasons why their newly established religious order should be involved in schools. Among others, he mentioned: “Those who are now students, in time will play diverse roles in society − some in ministry to care for people; some to politics, the law, and public service; some to other callings. Since young people grow into adults, their good intellectual and moral formation will benefit many others and steadily further human development.”
The early Jesuits established a school system that spread rapidly through Europe, the Americas, and parts of Asia. It was an organisation of schools in close contact with one another who intentionally reviewed what they were doing, gathering ideas of best practice from all over the world. It shared teachers who shared their gifts and ideas. The Ratio Studiorum devised in the late 1500s was a ‘plan of studies’ for Jesuit schools. It had creative ideas about cura personalis, innovative teaching and learning, professional standards, education being available to a diverse section, and the formation of character.
Much has been shared in the media and social media about the Church lately. A priest friend reminded his diocese recently: “Why would we wish to be identified with an institution held in such widespread disdain? We cannot avoid this question put to us by the sad circumstances of recent times. We must answer it with humility, integrity and courage, such that a new sense of purpose might guide us into the future with genuine Christian hope. In this way, this dreadful moment in the life of our Church in Australia can act to purify and clarify our discipleship.”
The famous Jesuit scholar Walter Burghardt said to a woman being baptised: “Sonia Maria, before we welcome you through symbol and ritual into this paradoxical people, this community of contradictions, let me make an uncommonly honest confession. In the course of more than half a century, I have seen more Catholic corruption than most Catholics. Yet, I take joy in this Church, this living, sinning people of God; I love it with a crucifying passion. Why? In spite of all the Catholic hate, I experience here a community of love. For all the institutional idiocy, I find here a tradition of reason. For all the individual repression, I breathe here an air of freedom. In an age so inhuman, I touch here tears of compassion. In a world so grim and humourless, I share here rich joy and earthly laughter. In the midst of death, I hear an incomparable stress on life here. For all this apparent absence of God, I sense here the presence of Christ. I pray, Sonia Maria, that your life within this community, your experience of a strange God and a still stranger people, will rival mine.”
Above: Principals and Rectors of JACSA
Back: Michael Vella, Mark Tannock, Jennie Hickey, Michael Exton, Ross Jones SJ
Middle: Robert Henderson, Jack McLain SJ, Cathy Larkin, Joe Favrin, Peter Hosking SJ
Front: Peter Coffey, Simon Dash, Paul Hine, Bill Doherty, Chris Middleton SJ
Fr Peter Hosking SJ
OREMUS (Let us pray)
We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.
For those who have died:
- Brian Nayda, father of Steven (OI ‘84), father-in-law of Diane, grandfather of Charlie (OI ’16), Grace (Year 12) and William (Year 11)
- Tom Hardy (OI ’06) - as a result of accident
- Monsignor Denis Edwards
For the sick:
- Fr Karl Emerick OP
“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)
If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Home Group Teacher, or Year Coordinator.