Always striving upwards

Message from The Principal

Farewell to the Class of 2023

Farewell to the Class of 2023

At this time each school year, we celebrate our graduating class and reflect on their contributions to the Sacred Heart Girls’ College community. We follow much loved traditions and think back to Year 7, and the beginning of their journey at Sacred Heart. How quickly this time has gone. This is a point in time that is at once exciting and, no doubt a little frightening, for the path ahead is not as predictable as the transitions that have come before.

As the Class of 2023 take charge of their life choices, I offer them this message.

Take just a moment to think about and offer a prayer of thanks for the people who have helped you along the way, especially your parents, your family, your teachers and your friends. In life, we don’t get anywhere by ourselves. I know that you are grateful for the support given by those around you.

Reflect on the privilege of your education at Sacred Heart and accept the responsibility that comes with this privilege.

  • How will you use the knowledge that you have absorbed?
  • How will you utilise that knowledge as you become the custodians of our culture?
  • How will you become the caretakers of our community, our politics, our economy, our moral compass and our national identity?
  • How will you reach across cultures and disciplines to help solve the world’s problems?

Take with you the values, the vision, and the important notion of faith seeking justice. Let these become part of your life. No matter what your chosen profession or vocation, you will find yourself consistently drawing upon your Sacred Heart education to guide your reasoning and decision making. I pray that what you take away from Sacred Heart is a way of viewing and analysing the world, critically evaluating complex situations, demonstrating creativity and compassion, and acting justly and ethically to advance the common good. Our world needs you more than ever and it is so important that, like Euphrasie Barbier, you are people of our world.

Be informed. Know what is happening in our world and seek out information from reputable sources. There is so much misinformation and so many blatant untruths across our modern media landscape. To be reliant on questionable platforms is not doing justice to your intellect.

Take action. Be prepared to respond to unfair situations. If something does not seem right to you take action. Link with like-minded people and work together for just outcomes. We need people of action to sort out the problems created by my generation.

On my recent period of Enrichment Leave, I followed in the footsteps of Dorothy Day (1897-1980) as part of a Christian Holiness and Social Action study tour. Day was a social activist, dedicated to serving others in her hometown of New York City. She was not a generous donor, or a nun, or someone who returned to a comfortable home every night. She was an unwed mother, a poor, unemployed woman and a disaffected church goer. She lived in a run-down apartment, dropped out of college and rejected the conventional systems that most of us live by. Yet, committed to living out the gospels, she rose out of these ashes to give life to so many others. She was a radical pacificist, dedicated to the peace movement, and warned of worse things to come when violence was met with violence. She was arrested and jailed on many occasions. She was treated as an outcast by the Church. People, clergy included, did not like her attitude to war, her attitude to capitalism or that she marched for women’s rights. Yet not long after her death the Church condemned the arms race and spoke out against excessive capitalism, though we still have a way to go with the role of women in the Church. Through her actions Dorothy Day lead a revolution of attitudes. She believed in “living simply so that others could simply live”. Be like Dorothy Day, a person of great humility who made a difference with those whom she encountered.

Be people of love. Like Jesus in the Gospels, love one another, not with the love of hearts and flowers, but by treating your neighbour as yourself. When you see someone suffering, reach out and help. This is how we become strong. When we are there for others, there will be people for us to turn to when we are in need. Show love, give love, be simply loving. Love your family, love your country, love each other.

On behalf of the College Community, I would like to express our congratulations on your many achievements. Your determination, particularly evident through the COVID years, and efforts in the classroom and in our community, have seen you through an intensive program of study.

We wish you God’s blessing as we send you forth into the next stage of your journey. Please God, you will encounter every challenge with hope, enthusiasm and joy. May God bless you all the days of your life.

In out-of-the-way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming.
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure:
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

  • John O’Donohue

O’Donohue, J. (2008) To Bless the Space Between Us. Penguin Randon House.