Members of Good Samaritan Education gathered in Sydney recently (Friday March 30 to Sunday April 1) for their first formal assembly since the new Church entity was launched in November last year.
According to Terry Creagh, Chair of Good Samaritan Education (GSE), this inaugural gathering of the 15 newly-commissioned members responsible for the ethos, mission and stewardship of the ten Good Samaritan colleges was “very successful”.
She said the weekend, a live-in experience at Mount St Benedict Centre, Pennant Hills, provided a great opportunity for members from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria “to get to know one another and to lay the relational foundations necessary for an effective community”.
“The assembly was enhanced by the presence of the Principals and Chairs of Boards of the ten Colleges who attended from Friday evening until after Saturday lunch,” said Terry.
“The members enjoyed this interaction very much and the sense of extended community.”
The weekend program included sessions led by Catherine Slattery SGS, Terry Creagh, Kay Herse, Meg Kahler SGS and Elizabeth Brennan SGS on “Forming Community”, “Opening the Rule of Benedict”, “Benedictine Values Alive in College Life”, “Right Relationships” and “Benedictine Prayer”. A formal meeting of the members was also held.
Terry said the session “Benedictine Values Alive in College Life”, in which a Principal and Board Chair from each College outlined how Benedictine values are evident in their College, was a highlight for many members.
For Maria Kirkwood from Melbourne, the GSE assembly was “enormously beneficial at a number of levels”. When she was first invited to consider GSE membership, Maria knew that formation would constitute an important part of GSE meetings and weekends.
“[During the recent assembly] members were encouraged to engage with the formation process right from the beginning,” said Maria.
“The entire weekend was faithful to the spirit of the Good Samaritan Sisters and their vision and charism – working together to build and nurture community and finding God through that process. The opportunity to be immersed in a gentle and reflective time was profoundly enriching.
“The entire weekend spoke to my heart and my spirit as well as to my intellect because of the congruence between the primacy of prayer and reflection, and the manner in which the formal meeting elements were conducted,” she explained.
During the formal meeting members spent significant time completing the tasks required to prepare for the transfer of canonical responsibility for the Colleges from the Sisters to GSE.
The ten Good Samaritan colleges will become the responsibility of GSE on June 1, 2012, following their boards’ annual general meetings.
A second weekend assembly of GSE members is scheduled for later this year.