Cherry tree’s blossoms herald hope for survivors

Beth Gibson alongside the weeping cherry tree at St Matthew's, Page.

Beth Gibson alongside the weeping cherry tree at St Matthew’s, Page.

There’s a cherry tree in Page that has just begun blossoming, but it’s no ordinary tree.

It sits a few steps away from St Matthew’s Church, and is springing into life after making it through a colder, darker period.

The symbolism is deliberate.

The tree was planted as a representation of renewal and hope by the South Belconnen parish Child Protection sub-committee. Their aim was to do something for survivors of institutional abuse within the Church.

Cherry tree at Page

“We planted the tree in April this year, with a view to it blossoming now,” explained Beth Gibson, one of the three person sub-committee.

“The Spring time blossoming was deliberate and has occurred at the time of the National Apology and the Archdiocese’s Liturgy of Lamentation and Healing. This has created a link between this local symbol and the broader National and Church events.

“We wanted to offer our love and support to people who were abused here and elsewhere. There’s a lot of sadness and suffering around that, but the hope is that people are able to move beyond that and experience healing and hope.”

Beth said the committee chose a tree that blossomed to help reinforce the symbolism of renewed life. And the committee also want to take other steps in remembrance.

“It’s our plan to have our own special liturgy each year to remember the children,” she said.

“It was such a profound thing for this parish and Fr Simon (Falk) is very supportive of the idea. And we’d also like to include regular mentions in the prayers of the faithful.”

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“I guess our main aim in doing all of this was to say to people we haven’t forgotten.

“What happened to your children, what happened to your family, what happened to you, is not forgotten and we pray for healing.”


Cherry tree plaque, Page


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  • Gabrielle 6 years

    What a wonderful, thoughtful and caring approach. I also think that the blossom will be a constant reminder for each one of us to be aware of those who were injured and the need to be more prayerful in our own lives.