March 2016

Centenary celebrations begin at Lourdes Hill

Brisbane’s Lourdes Hill College, a secondary school for girls now operated by Good Samaritan Education, began its year of centenary celebrations last month with a number of activities on February 11, culminating in a Eucharist at the Great Hall of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The day began with students participating in the annual cheer competition. Having been asked to incorporate words from some of the school’s earliest known cheers, “competition was fun and fierce”, said John Clarke, Lourdes Hill College Deputy Principal (Mission).

After the competition, 1,250 students plus staff made their way on foot and by ferry to Southbank in time for a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane and to enjoy some centenary birthday cake.

John said the culmination of the day was an “engaging and uplifting Mass” presided over by Brisbane’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge, College Chaplain Father Pan Jordan, and Sts Peter and Paul’s Parish Priest, Father Tom Elich, which allowed nearly 4,000 members of the extended Lourdes Hill community “to give thanks to our God for the many blessings showered on the College over the past 100 years”.

Robyn Anderson, Lourdes Hill College Principal told those gathered, “Today we gather for three purposes: to officially open our school year; to honour the feast of our patroness, Our Lady of Lourdes; and to celebrate 100 years of faith, learning and connection at the site today known as Lourdes Hill College.

“For this centenary year, we have taken as our theme, ‘Inspiring Stories’. We are inspired by the stories of our history, and the events of this year will no doubt inspire more stories,” she said.

“At Lourdes Hill College, stories are important to us. Our three stories, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Rule of St Benedict and the Story of Mary and Bernadette in Lourdes, inspire us to be a community that fosters kindness, peace and hope.”

Robyn concluded: “As we begin this very special year, we ask that we will be inspired by all the stories that have created Lourdes Hill College. May we all be more and more aware of God’s presence in our lives and look to the star and call on Mary as a guide for responding to the world.”

After the Eucharistic celebration it was the city of Brisbane’s turn to acknowledge Lourdes Hill’s historic milestone with the iconic Story Bridge splendidly lit in the College’s colour, purple.

The Sisters of the Good Samaritan first arrived in Brisbane in 1916 and soon after started lessons for two girls at the Hawthorne location that is now home to 1,250 students from Years 7 to 12.

Since 1916, 303 Good Samaritan Sisters have lived in community at Lourdes Hill, working at the College or in the local community, and 64 students have gone on to become members of the Congregation with several more joining other orders.

The College has educated some remarkable graduates, including OAM recipients Wensley Goebel, Pauline Fitz-Walter SGS and Therese D’Arcy, Olympians, including Susie O’Neill, and international performing artists, such as Daphne Coburn and ‘Dr Who girl’ Janet Fielding. It has also recovered from setbacks, including the devastating fire that destroyed wooden school buildings in 1960.

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