On Tuesday morning the College came together for the Opening School Mass, presentation of Year 12 2016 HSC awards and ceremony to induct the 2017 College leaders. A huge thank you must be extended to Father John Hayes for celebrating Mass with us and to all of our guests and parents who joined the College to celebrate this occasion.
Below is an excerpt from Principal, Michael Blake's Address to the College community.
...Again this is no accident and comes through systems in place at the college that ask, and challenge, our students to step up to give their best coupled with the hard work of the staff and parent community.
Those same qualities are evident in a remarkable story with an unremarkable beginning that I want to share with you.
It is the story of a boy who was born into a poor family on a small farm as the youngest of 9 children. Life was difficult on the land, particularly in an unforgiving landscape with harsh weather conditions. The boy was classified as a slow learner and found school difficult, and as such he left school at a young age to work with his hands. In his early teens however, he received a calling and the desire to learn more and subsequently he spent the winter months over a three year period with his sister and brother-in-law studying just to be accepted into further study. I ask you to imagine how many times he wondered if he should go on, whether it was worth it. Each time he stayed the task and persevered.
When he was eventually accepted into further study he found the other students were much more advanced than him and to make matters worse he was by now significantly older than them. At the end of the first year, he was asked to go home and think about whether this was indeed his future. Again how many times did he wonder if he should go on, whether it was worth the effort? Each time, no matter the test to his character, he stayed the task and persevered.
If you have not yet worked out to whom I am referring, it is of course St Marcellin Champagnat and the trials and tribulations that characterised his struggle to firstly be accepted into the minor seminary, then through 12 years in the minor seminary and seminary before finally being ordained a priest. Ultimately the journey helped to form his character, to shape who he was as a man and to help focus his vision for what he wanted to achieve in his life.
This work ethic and persistence that was developed in Marcellin put him in good stead as he founded the Little Brothers of Mary, the Marist Brothers to ensure that the children of France Knew and Loved Jesus. By the time of his death at age 51 in 1840, there were 278 brothers who worked in 48 Marist schools across France and the Pacific. At the time of his canonisation in 1999, the Superior General estimated that there were approximately 5000 brothers worldwide.
I could talk extensively about the Marist World that Marcellin was instrumental in creating, but boys I want to bring you back to the start of the story. Here was a boy who struggled academically, who had many moments of doubt, but who rolled up his sleeves and worked to be the best he could be and was the better for it, who learnt along the way about reward for effort and this year, thanks to his initial formation, we are able to celebrate a bicentenary of 200 years of Marist Education.
We do so, mindful of the wonderful work of Marcellin and our Marist forefathers, but knowing that in their work they do not seek idol-ology,they don’t wish to place Marcellin on a pedestal but they ask that we learn from Marcellin’s own mission “To make Jesus Known and Loved”