In celebration of their ongoing partnership, St Monica’s College in Epping, Victoria, recently welcomed Good Samaritan Sister Anna Warlow and Good Samaritan Rural Outreach to their Year 12 Graduation Assembly.
The College’s partnership with Good Samaritan Rural Outreach began in 2016, when their first group of immersion students travelled to engage with indigenous and rural communities in remote Western Australia.
The 2016 immersion laid the foundation for a partnership with members of Good Samaritan Rural Outreach, including Principal of Cue Primary School and Good Samaritan Oblate Catherine Jones; Indigenous Elders, Elaine Walley and Ivy Dalgetty; Jan Gorza; Joy Ridley; and Kathy Beek.
In her address to the Assembly, Anna spoke of those who have been on the immersion and reflected: “Those of you who have journeyed the WA Outback with us, who have experienced, even for a short time, the culture of the remote areas have been wonderful examples of the ethos and spirit of St Monica’s.
“You left an indelible imprint on our hearts. It is evident, that you were enriched and challenged by the experiences and insights that were gained, by the lives and struggles of those in the rural and remote places in Western Australia.”
Since the commencement of this partnership, Good Samaritan Sister Val Deakin has worked with the students of St Monica’s in preparation for their travel to Western Australia, a commitment to guidance and encouragement she continues to this day.
At the Assembly, Principal Brian Hanley spoke of the College living out its call to mission as a Catholic school and its commitment to raising awareness of reconciliation issues relating to indigenous rural communities.
“Our College is proud to be ‘Good Sam’ in tradition and focus,” said Brian. “Our association with so many ministries is enriching for our students who have a sound understanding of service and outreach to others in the Good Samaritan spirit.”
The College’s outreach programmes include immersion experiences to support the work of the Good Samaritan Sisters in Western Australia and the Philippines.
When students first met members of the WA communities, they were inspired to maintain contact and work toward raising funds through fundraisers and stationery drives to support the work of Good Samaritan Rural Outreach.
Anna maintains that the support given by the St Monica’s College community to the indigenous students at Nagle Catholic College, Geraldton and the children at Cue Primary School is “tangible evidence of the connections made, hearts across the Nullarbor”.
Clare Turner, the College’s Coordinator of Values Education describes the impact of these experiences on students as “immeasurable”.
“Our travellers see themselves as pilgrims and have been inspired to become teachers, work in indigenous communities and travel back to the outback as part of their future pathways,” she said.
“We are grateful and blessed by our relationship with the Good Samaritan Rural Outreach team in Western Australia and look towards new shared experiences.”
The staff and students of St Monica’s College live out their motto to ‘pray and persevere’ and are inspired by the work that Good Samaritan Rural Outreach undertake in indigenous and rural communities – where they are ‘neighbour’ and work for the common good to improve the wellbeing of others.
The commitment to ‘being Good Samaritan’ is evident among the St Monica’s College community.
As a co-educational, regional secondary school founded in the Good Samaritan Benedictine tradition, St Monica’s College draws inspiration from the values of this tradition and works to keep the legacy of the Sisters alive by continuing their work – strengthening and developing new partnerships and answering the parable’s call to ‘Go and do likewise.’
Authors: Mr Brian Hanley, Principal and Mrs Clare Turner, Coordinator of Values Education