How I yearn for you to trust in God – to be without fear’? (Mary MacKillop, 1908)

Our theme for 2022, ‘Daring to Live with Courage’, invites us to consider how we embrace all that we experience with hope and positive action. We have entered our third year of schooling through a pandemic, and we know that we can no longer simply wait for it to be over. The invitation before us is, to paraphrase the well-known Prayer for Serenity, to accept that which cannot be changed and find the courage to change that which can.

In challenging our staff and students to Dare to Live with Courage, we offer the example of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Her story is filled with adversity and challenge, much of it beyond her control. And yet, she is a beacon of courage and hope. She took enormous risks to follow the deepest calling of her heart, establishing a new religious congregation, working with the most at-risk children and their families, and standing her ground in the face of institutional abuse. She carried great personal loss and sorrow to add to her own poor health – situations she bore bravely and with great patience and generosity of spirit. The constant thread through her letters and prayers is her ever-present reliance on God’s infinite love which she sought to express in all she said and did.

The inspiration of Mary MacKillop is alive amongst her student leaders today, who reflected on the 2022 theme in preparing to take up their roles. College Captain Amelia Vivera shared these thoughts with the staff and students at our opening assembly:

I think we all know that … Life can often present us with many challenges and to face them with bravery and humility is something that we all have to do. I was thinking about our theme for this year, about how it dares us to live with courage and I realised that for some people they have no choice but to face each day fearlessly.

We live in a country where we have the right to make our voices heard, we have the right to an education and we have the right to think for ourselves! For some reason, we were blessed with this life where our rights are upheld and so we must live with determination so that through our own strength in the midst of fear and adversity we can one day be the strength for people who do not have a voice.

We have great examples….

Malala lives with courage, St Mary MacKillop, Mother Mary, Marie Curie, St Teresa, lived with courage - the world was not designed for them to succeed or to make a change but they broke the mould that society made for them and faced each challenge they were presented with strength.

Now it is our turn, it is our duty to be the leaders of this rapidly changing world.

We must have the knowledge to fight for the girls who aren’t allowed an education, we must be brave to stand up for the women who are abused, we must have compassion for the children living in slums, we must have courage for ourselves! If we have courage we can change the world - we must face our fears and the obstacles that life throws at us because we are the leaders of tomorrow!

May 2022 be a year we all feel inspired to take courageous action in building up our world: ‘Be courageous, be strong and do everything with love’ (1 Cor 16:13-14).

Andrea Grant - Director of Catholic Identity

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