The Good Samaritan Education student immersion experience returned to our Formation for Mission program this year with a visit to the community at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) near Alice Springs.
The immersion was a wonderful experience of communio and reconnection for our Good Samaritan Education schools. Each of us was called to this immersion, holding fast to the mission of Jesus and the tradition of Bede Polding and the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, engaging with First Nations Peoples with justice and compassion.
‘Listen … with the ear of your heart.’
(RB Prologue 1)
Gaining a first-hand understanding of life in Ltyentye Apurte was especially pertinent during our Good Samaritan Education Year of Neighbour and the concurrent First Nation’s Voice to Parliament Referendum.
Our immersion in the community involved meaningful interactions with the local women, including visits to the Spirituality Centre, the Aged Care facility and the Keringke Arts Centre.
Throughout our time in Ltyentye Apurte, our focus was on active listening, being present, and a commitment to learning from the people. The students fostered connections with the local children, recognising a shared bond at the recreation centre and skate park.
‘The immersion helped me view life from a different perspective as someone who comes from a more urban life and taught me how to reflect on my actions.’
(Student participant GSE school)
During the three-phase program, participants had the chance to reflect on their experiences and give themselves time and space to embrace new insights and change.
While the environment was challenging, the deep personal learning and engagement with the community were extraordinary.
The enchanting allure of Ltyentye Apurte’s red dust left a lasting impression on us all.
Our Benedictine Good Samaritan tradition calls us to engage in profound listening and embrace the role of neighbour.
This transformative experience has reignited in each participant a freshly informed conscience and a commitment to justice, inspiring us to future action and advocacy.
‘This immersion was life changing. The spirit that lives in Santa Teresa is something that I will connect with in my life journey. I have a greater sense of the issues facing remote Indigenous communities and I feel like I can now be an informed advocate.’
(Staff participant GSE school)
By Fran Vella, Good Samaritan Education Mission Program Coordinator. This article was published in the November 2023 edition of The Good Oil.