Mary’s college gift to us all

Archbishop Prowse joins St Mary MacKillop College principal Michael Lee and Sr Mary Ellen O’Donoghue, at the new labyrinth

A who’s who of local Catholic education gathered at St Mary MacKillop’s Senior College to celebrate the long awaited opening of several new facilities.

Acknowledging the work of the school’s founding principal, the Sr Noelene Quinane Academic Resource Centre was opened alongside the Penola Building and The Mary MacKillop Walk labyrinth.

Principal Michael Lee described the labyrinth as a “gift from the school to the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn”.

“Mary MacKillop offers so much to young people and to people who work with young people,” he said.

“So this is a gift from this school to our Archdiocese and to people who know and love Mary MacKillop and who recognised that following her life is a better way to know Jesus.”

Once a playground for snakes, the area has been transformed into a space inviting participants on a 14-station pilgrimage depicting the life and works of Australia’s only saint.

The 1km walk was designed with a mixture of modern technology and symbolic architecture. It provides areas for students to gather and reflect on the life of St Mary MacKillop aided by QR codes placed at each station.

The other facilities opened included an auditorium and individual student study areas.

Catholic Education director Ross Fox acknowledged the vision and work of many past and present staff to create the facilities, including former Catholic Education directors Geoff Joy and Moira Nadjecki.

“This great school is today a result of their efforts and the many others who toiled to realise this great vision,” he said.

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“I’m confident to say that with the additional facilities being named after Sr Noelene Quinane and Penola, we are absolutely advancing St Mary MacKillop College as a Josephite school.

Penola was the place where Mary’s commitment to the education of children was first realised.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse, who blessed the buildings and labyrinth, said behind all great saints were parents who “should never be forgotten”.

He reflected on the tremendous influence Mary MacKillop’s mother Flora, who drowned off the coast of Eden, had on Mary and many others.

“Parents are the first to educate their children. We need to support them, not replace them,” he said.

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