Address at the Liturgy
St Ignatius School Farewell to the Sisters of Mercy from Toowong Parish
Pam Betts, Executive Director, Brisbane Catholic Education
Fr Stan, Sisters of Mercy, particularly our guest of honour, Sr Anna Ventura, Roycelyn Wilden, Principal, St Ignatius School, staff, parents and particularly the wonderful students here at St Ignatius.
Today we mark the end of an era for this parish and school community here at Toowong. Today we gather to farewell the Sisters of Mercy – Sisters we honour you, we thank you, we acknowledge your outstanding legacy. Words seem so inadequate to express the depth of our gratitude and we owe you a great debt of gratitude, not only for your contribution here at Toowong for 115 years, but for the significant and outstanding contribution you have made to Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane for over 150 years. I bring with me the gratitude of our 139 school communities. I ask Sr Mary Lawson, a member of the Congregation Leadership Team to pass on our thanks to Sr Catherine Reuter and the other members of the team.
Inspired by Catherine McAuley, you have been a guiding light in this and so many other communities in the extraordinary work you have done. The number of children who have benefitted from your vocation and dedication to Catholic education would run into the many tens of thousands. You have given these children and young people the gift of education – a gift that changes lives and a gift that can never be taken away. You have given so many young people a chance at becoming the person who God created them to be.
I acknowledge the considerable commitment you have made to the education of young women. I owe you a personal debt of gratitude. My first year of teaching was at St Mary’s College Ipswich where I worked with Sr Mary Peters who is here today. I taught at All Hallows’ and acknowledge the presence of Sr Rita Huxley and Sr Patricia Sullivan who I worked with there. You also provided me with the opportunity to be a member of the All Hallows’ School board and Chair of that Board for three years. For these opportunities and experiences, I remain personally grateful.
And to you Sr Anna, our guest of honour today, thank you for your presence among the St Ignatius community. You have been a friend and loyal supporter, companion and the face of Mercy in this community. Thank you for all you have done and been for those who have treasured your presence here. You have been remarkable and we wish you every blessing for the future.
In the words of Pope Francis, we look to the past with gratitude, live the present with passion, and look to the future with hope.
We remain grateful to you for all you have been and all you have done for this community, for ministering Mercy through education, advocating Mercy through social action and justice and proclaiming the light of Christ to all. We are inspired by your passion as you continue your ministry – to be signs of Mercy in our world and as we in this school community continue to Love Jesus, Love Learning, and Love one another. You inspire us to look to the future with hope.
Sisters, we will never forget you, we hold you in our prayers, you will continue to inspire our mission in Catholic education. Thank you and may your future be richly blessed.