Volume 32 Issue 15 - 14 August 2020

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox - Principal

Over the past few weeks we have been working with the Year 11 cohort to finalise the new College student leadership team. The girls have put themselves forward and either offered themselves or voted after careful consideration for the person they felt best fits the role.

As a final stage of this process, Mr Bettiol, Mrs Wright, Mr Combes, Mr Gattone, Mr Ashcroft and I have met with three or four girls and interviewed them about leadership and what they can bring to the different roles. It has been an absolute delight to hear these girls speak about servant leadership in a Benedictine manner. They have spoken about being part of the community, engaging with all students, building trust, avoiding a hierarchy and working as part of a team for the greater good of the College. Every year our College leaders inspire me and the leaders of 2021 will not disappoint.

I offer my congratulations to the following girls:

I am sure the girls will be well supported by the student body as they embark on their leadership journey. I wish them well.

Over the last two weeks we have hosted parent forums via Zoom. I extend my thanks to Mrs Wright for assisting with the hosting, the IT department for a lot of the set up and the parents who joined us on the evenings. It was very pleasant to speak with the parents present about their daughter's progress and to be able to give them some feedback on the remote learning experience and the response to the last parent/teacher/student interviews. Hopefully when we host our next forum in 2021, our world will be a little safer to have these events back on site at the College.

I will finish this newsletter with a short extract from an article written by Sr Clare Condon in ‘The Good Oil’ on Benedictine leadership:

St Benedict, in his Rule, calls the leader of his communities to integrity, where words and actions are in harmony. He suggests strongly that candidates are chosen for “merit of life and wisdom”. He expects the same of every member of the community, so that civility and good order can result in supporting and sustaining good human relationships.

Sue Lennox - Principal 

An Australian Saint: Criteria for Sainthood

In this edition of the Faith Feed we explore another remarkable woman, Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Her feast day was celebrated on 8 August which is the anniversary of her death. St Mary Mackillop died on this day in 1909 after living a life in service of God. She is our first and only Catholic Saint and as such is a very important figure within our Church.  All Catholic saints have a feast day that occurs on the anniversary of their death or another date chosen by the Church.

Being named a saint in the Catholic Church is a very high honour. It means the saint’s name is added to the official catalogue of saints, and that Masses and feast days can be celebrated in his or her honour. Churches can then be dedicated in the saint’s memory, and his or her name can be used in public prayers, such as litanies.

What does it take for someone to be named a saint? The process is called canonisation and it involves four major steps.

  • Request for Canonisation: At least five years after a person’s death (unless a special exception is made by the Pope), a formal request is made to consider him or her for sainthood. The people making the request are usually from the candidate’s church or religious community. They submit their request to the bishop of the diocese where the person died. The request tells how the person lived a life of holiness and lists reasons for considering the candidate for sainthood. If the bishop believes there is enough evidence to consider the person for sainthood, he asks the Vatican for permission to open a special tribunal. Witnesses are then called to attest to the candidate’s goodness, holiness, devotion to God, and other virtues. If a person passes this step, he or she is named a “Servant of God.”

    Even before her death Mary’s extraordinary life and faith were widely acknowledged throughout Australia and beyond. It was this widespread recognition which led her Josephite Congregation, the Archbishop of Sydney and the Conference of Australian Bishops to request that Mary’s holiness be acclaimed by the wider Church. In the diocesan phase of the beatification process the writings of Mary MacKillop were examined, stories and testimony concerning her reputation for holiness were collected from people who knew her or had heard of her.

  • Determination: The bishop sends a formal report and request to Rome where it is reviewed by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. Nine theologians read the material and determine whether there is enough cause to pass it to the entire Congregation. If so, the candidate’s writings and other aspects of his or her life are studied to make sure there is nothing that goes against the teachings and practices of the Church. As part of this investigation a person called a “devil’s advocate” raises questions and objections to the candidate’s sainthood. This is to make sure the final decision is complete and fair, and all evidence of the candidate’s saintliness is assured. Once a candidate has been determined to be virtuous and heroic in his or her faith, he or she is declared “Venerable.”

    The next phase involved the preparation of documentation which was to be presented in Rome. This included compiling a full history of Mary MacKillop as well as presenting information on a miracle to indicate that Mary had intercessory powers. All the information sent to Rome was examined by a panel of medical specialists who gave an opinion as to whether the cure could be explained by scientific means. This opinion was positive. Then theologians and cardinals studied whether the cure could be attributed to the intercession of Mary MacKillop. This outcome was positive and decreed on July 6, 1993. Meanwhile Mary’s heroicity of virtue was established in June 1992. Mary now had the title of “Venerable”.

  • Beatification: The next step is beatification. If the candidate was a martyr, someone who died for their faith, he or she may be beatified and named “Blessed.” Otherwise, a miracle brought about by the intercession of the saint must occur and be verified by the Congregation. Once the person is beatified and named “Blessed,” he or she can be venerated, or officially honoured, in his or her city, diocese, region, or religious community.

    Mary was beatified in Sydney on January 19, 1995 by Pope John Paul 11. This took place in the presence of many thousands of people who had travelled from all over Australia, New Zealand and many parts of the world. Her canonisation in Rome followed 16 years later, giving Australia its first canonised saint.

  • Canonisation: After being beatified, another miracle is required for the person to be canonised and officially declared a saint. Once again, the miracle must have occurred as a result of the person’s intercession. The Prefect of the Congregation then sends the cause for canonisation to the Pope who makes the final decision. Once a person is canonised, he or she is officially declared a “Saint.” The Pope declares this in an official way at a special Mass in honour of the new saint.

  • In April 2008, the documents pertaining to a remarkable cure of a woman with inoperable cancer were delivered under seal to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. These were officially opened and then examined to establish if they were validly prepared according to the juridical requirements of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. When validity of the process was confirmed an official summary was prepared. Then a chronological history of the illness and cure was also prepared. In September 2008, this book was given to two doctors, chosen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. These doctors scrutinised the documents and had access to all X-rays, scans and medical reports from the cured person as well as other references to the illness from medical literature. They were asked to give an opinion on the question, “Can the cure be explained by scientific or medical means?” When the doctors concluded that the cure could not be explained by medical or scientific means, all the material was further studied and discussed by a Medical Board, whose members were also chosen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It took several months for the close scrutiny of this case to be examined by the Medical Board and theologians and eventually the cardinals and bishops recommended to Pope Benedict XVI that this cure was truly a miracle.

  • On December 19 2009, Pope Benedict XVI approved this miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mary MacKillop. This was the final step to fulfil the requirements for canonisation. On February 19, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI announced that Mary MacKillop will become Australia’s first saint and her canonisation will take place in Rome on Sunday 17 October, 2010

  • Mary MacKillop was canonised on October 17, 2010 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Mary’s sainthood during a Canonisation Mass, in the presence of many thousands of people and streamed live around the world.

    Louise East - Religious Education Coordinator

Feast Day of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop

Saturday 8 August marked the Feast Day of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop—the first Australian to have been declared a saint. During a Year 10 Religious Education lesson in the week before St Mary’s Feast Day, three Year 10 girls (Liliana F, Alana R, and Grace J) wanted to organise a prayer to mark the occasion of St Mary Mackillop’s Feast Day.

St Mary of the Cross Mackillop

Having been given the go-ahead, the three girls enthusiastically located a suitable prayer and a song dedicated to St Mary of the Cross. Their efforts created a meaningful five minute prayer that was prayed over the College PA speakers during Homeroom on the morning of Monday 10 August. In praying the prayer over the PA, Liliana, Alana, and Grace were assisted by Olivia S. The prayer that was used is as follows:

Ever generous God,
You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop
To live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and constant in bringing hope and encouragement
to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.
With confidence in your generous providence
and through the intercession of Saint Mary MacKillop,
we ask that you grant our request to keep us safe in this time of pandemic.
We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit
so that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with courage, trust, and openness.
Ever generous God, hear our prayer.
We ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen

Andrew Chinn’s song “A Cross of Stars” followed the prayer. The chorus of the song is “Across these great lands she brought the Good News with courage and love in her heart that faith and hope and love may live beneath a Cross of Stars.” (The “Cross of Stars” is an obvious reference to the Southern Cross). One of the verses of the song captures well St Mary’s courageous spirit which we call upon today to inspire us: “Mary said, ‘Have courage no matter what your crosses are.’ This Mary knew when times were hard. She trusted in God, and God did provide and Mary’s love travelled far and wide.” May our love also travel far and wide.

The Year 10 girls’ prayer ended with the girls, in unison, reminding us of one of St Mary Mackillop’s most quoted saying: “Never see a need without doing something about it.”

Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator

Student Leadership Team 2020-2021

Over the past few weeks the College has been undertaking the process of electing the new student leaders for the coming year. This has involved students submitting a written application, followed by voting by both the Year 11 cohort and the staff and then an interview process for the final three or four for each of the positions.

These interviews involved Ms Lennox and the staff member who will work with each of the girls in their particular roles. In speaking with the staff involved they all found it a very rewarding experience, as they were able to get to know the girls and listen to them and their ideas about the role and how they can see it operating in the College under their leadership.

After a lot of discussion and discernment, as well as looking at how the different roles need to work together, we are proud to announce the following girls as the student leadership team for 2020-2021:







Congratulations to these girls on this achievement and we look forward to working with them over the coming year.

Karen Wright - Assistant Principal Students

Sei on en せいおんえん

This year, an area inspired by the COVID19 Remote Learning and students studying Japanese, has been developed as a small Japanese garden.

 It has a grown over the past few months with the addition of a number of Bonsai trees and a water feature with the Kanji character for water 水. Three students in Year 9, Abbey C, Finneligh M and Molly M have given the garden a Japanese name - "Sei on en" せいおんえん meaning "Tranquil Garden". The garden is a place where students can stop for a moment and admire nature during these uncertain times.

Julian Nash - Languages Coordinator

Year 9.1 Food Technology

Learning how to eat healthily and fill up on Nutrients

Year 9.1 Food Technology enjoyed our Food Technology practical lesson: Budda Bowls. They were excited with a colourful arrangement of food ingredients and we have lots of photos to share with you. No food was left at the end of the lesson. Our class now know how to incorporate vegetables and fruit into their daily diet. 

Dale Reader - TAS Coordinator

Great New Fiction to Read!

Your next great read is waiting for you at the Library - come and get it!

We have some great new fiction in the College Library this month, including the much-anticipated prequel to The Hunger Games: 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes', and the latest book in the Twilight series: 'Midnight Sun'. We also have some titles from wonderful Australian authors, including the sci-fi mystery 'The Erasure Initiative' by Lili Wilkinson, the fun, fast-paced romance 'Remind Me Why I'm Here' by Kat Colmer and the thrilling adventure set on the high seas 'Across the Risen Sea'. These titles, along with dozens of other new books, are all ready for borrowing.  Library staff are always here to help students find their next great read (it's our favourite thing to do!).

The College Library

Debating at St Patrick's

The St Patrick's College Debating Teams have been very busy over the past two weeks:

St Patrick's Debators

CSDA Round Two

Round Two for the CSDA Debating Competition was held on Friday 31 July and saw us on the bus to attend a face-to-face debate against Christian Brothers High School in Lewisham. After a Wednesday training session, where we introduced the juniors to the topic of a ‘yardstick’ debate, we were pleasantly surprised to see that this was relevant to both our junior topic ‘That there is too much pressure to succeed’ and our senior topic ‘That Covid-19 restrictions have gone too far’. A yardstick debate is one in which a team must argue the correct amount of something - with the negative having the option to argue that there is not enough or that there is currently the perfect amount; and the affirmative having to argue that the status-quo is too far. It was pleasing to see so many of our young debaters applying their training to their debates. This week, we won five of the ten debates. Congratulations to the 7A, 7B, 8A, 10A and Senior A for their wins. A big thank you to Mrs McGillicuddy and Mr Duncan for their adjudications and support of Miss Bryant and the St Patrick’s College debating community.

CSDA Round Three

On Friday 7 August, we were back on Zoom for an online debate against our fellow Good Samaritan Education school, Rosebank College. It was once again pleasing to see our teams using their training in their debates. This week’s training session focused on our use of definitions - particularly in terms of how to use them in your rebuttal. All present teams worked together excellently to define practice topics with skill and flair, and even practised refuting definitions that Miss Bryant and Mr Duncan presented. When debate night came along, several teams were able to use this new skill to their advantage. This was the first week that the CSDA provided a different topic for every stage:

  • 7/8: That single sex education should be abolished
  • 9/10: That social media is gender biased
  • Senior: That cool heads prevail in the global warming debate

It was thrilling to see our students tackle such challenging topics with a well-informed and open mindset. It is a testament to our girls that they can hold their own in such complex, relevant and challenging topic areas. It was pleasing to see that the feedback received from the adjudicators is demonstrating growth in our debaters - several teams are now being complimented on their use of structure and method. The next step for several teams is to flesh out their arguments and continue to link back to the topic. This week, we won three of the ten debates. Congratulations to the 7B, 8A, and 9B for their wins. This week, we have a huge number of staff to thank for their support (Miss McGillicuddy, Mr Duncan, Miss Bella, Ms Lennox, Mr Lord, Mrs Samyia). Without these staff supporting Miss Bryant and the girls, events like this could not go ahead, so we are all very grateful. 

MISA Year 7 Debating

We are thrilled to share that our Year 7 MISA team has won their Round Two debate! On Wednesday 12 August, our Year 7 MISA squad, consisting of Eliza F, Orla B, Diadem A and Jamie M, debated over Zoom in our second round against Magdalene Catholic College. Also, well done and thank you to our Timekeepers and Madam Chairs, Nikitta J and Lillian J for their very professional facilitation of the debate. The topic for the Year 7 division was 'That teachers should wear uniforms’. Our students argued the affirmative and successfully proved that uniforms for teachers would provide greater school unity and allow teachers to model professional dress for students. It was pleasing to see our girls' rebuttals improving, particularly through using methods we have covered in training, such as using the definitions as a basis for rebuttal. Thanks again to our MISA team’s superior structure, they emerged victorious. This team’s next step is to improve their elaboration through the use of further examples and persuasive phrases. A big thank you to Miss Bella for her support of Miss Bryant and the girls, and congratulations to our 7 MISA on winning their second debate in a row!

Laura Bryant - Debating Coordinator

Knitting Group Presents its First Blankets for 2020

Now in its fourteenth year, the Knitting Group meets each Thursday lunch to knit squares which become blankets for the less fortunate in our local community. Each year the group holds an annual mid winter presentation of blankets to the St Vincent de Paul Society and we often have guest speakers from the organisation. Due to Covid we were unable to have our normal speakers from St Vincent de Paul and Ms Lennox generously came and spoke to the group. She was impressed by the array of blankets and thanked the girls for their dedication and for living out true Benedictine values.We also thank Mr Julian Nash for taking photos of our presentation, something that he has done for many years.

In 2020 the Knitting Group has had to change its regular practices. We would normally have a host of ex-staff and friends of the College come and work with the girls each week. This year our knitting helpers have been supporting us from home with knitting and assembling blankets together. Most of the girls at school have been working on joining the squares together and sewing the 'Handmade With Love by St Patrick's College Knitting Group' labels on to the blankets and scarves.

Despite all the hurdles of a Covid year, the group has managed thus far to create 28 blankets, 21 scarves and two shawls (51 items in total). This is a tremendous effort and we still have the remainder of the term to continue working on creating more blankets.

Fran Musico-Rullo - HSIE Teacher

Environment Council - Term 3 Project Update



Last week the Environment Council kicked off their Recycling Project for Term 3. We had many students from different year groups contribute to bringing in items for collection and gained House Points in return!

Our Scholastica Leader Minduli T, collected a whole bag of bottle caps! What an amazing effort!

This Friday we hope to collect old pens and markers that have either run-out or they just don't work and instead of throwing them out we will recycle them. Weeks 5 and 6 collection items are coffee pods and bags so we ask students and staff to collect these items and bring them in on Friday 28 August. 

Last week we also commenced our Cans and Bottles collection which was a hit with two bags full! Remember, prizes will be awarded for the girls who consistently bring in items to recycle throughout the term.

Happy Collecting!

The St Pat's Environment Council 

Important Dates

What's on ... 

Image courtesy of Joshua Combes - CAPA Coordinator

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