Dear St Michael’s College Community,
FOUNDERS DAY MASS – WEDNESDAY 12 MAY
Founders Day is a time to reflect on the rich history of the Lasallian mission and the dedication to providing a human and Christian education of the young, especially the poor. Each year, Lasallians honour St John Baptist de La Salle, Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (De La Salle Brothers) and Patron Saint of educators. De La Salle died in Rouen on 7 April 1719, was beatified by Leo XIII on 19 February 1888, and canonised by the same Pope on 24 May 1900. Pope Pius XII then proclaimed De La Salle the Patron Saint of Teachers on 15 May 1950 and this is the date that is commonly celebrated by many schools and ministries that host a variety of events and liturgies to honour De La Salle and his legacy.
At St Michael’s College, our 2021 Founders Day Mass was celebrated on Wednesday 12 May at the Secondary Campus. Almost 2000 students and staff from both campuses came together in what proved a wonderful community example of a Catholic school in the Lasallian tradition. This year’s Mass was celebrated by Fr Paul McCormack and special guests included Board Chair Mrs Marie Dorrington, as well as Br John Cantwell and Philippe Dulawan from Lasallian Mission services.
The Founders Day Mass themes were built around De La Salle, St Joseph (Patron Saint of the Lasallian family) and 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia. The celebration included a reflection play by Primary campus students, Staff Service presentations and a blessing for our Lasallian Youth Leaders.
In the recent “Declaration on the Lasallian Educational Mission”, we are encouraged to “accept the past with gratitude, embrace the present with joy and look to the future full of hope” knowing that “the conviction that a better world is possible moves us, the passion for humanity brings us together, and hope encourages us along the way”. In this context, St Michael’s is using the voices of our Lasallian heritage, our staff and students to connect our past, present and future and better articulate who we are and who we aspire to be as a Catholic, Lasallian school.
I offer you a small selection of these voices and look forward to sharing more over time:
Lasallian voices (Examples of language from De La Salle )
“Often remind yourself that you are in the presence of God.” (Letter 3 – to Brother Denis in Rethel, 30 May 1701)
“Young people need good teachers, like visible angels.” (MTR 5.1 [Med 197.1])
“Example makes a much greater impression than words.” (MTR 10.3 [Med 202.3])
“Always address people by their names and with great respect.” (Rule, Chapter 8)
“How to correct others depends on knowledge and discernment of character.” (Med 33.1)
”Know your students individually and be able to understand them.” (Med 33.1)
“This work of teaching is one of the most important in the Church.” (MTR 7.1 [Med 199.1])
Staff voices (Individual staff aspirational statements, 2020):
“Staff at St Michael’s College are kind, caring, patient and understanding. They are interested in students as people and are respectful and involved in a way that models positive relationships”
“Teachers at St Michael’s develop in students a desire to learn”
“Staff at St Michael’s work together, sharing collegial ideas as brothers and sisters to one another”
“Lasallian educators ‘light the spark’ for students”
“St Michael’s college is an inclusive environment where everyone is valued, accepted and allowed to feel part of the school community. Staff and students are known by each other and show kindness, compassion and understanding for each individual”
“Lasallian educators lead by example, not just talking about their values but displaying them. They focus on the positives in individuals and aim high to thrive, not just survive”
“Lasallian educators know their students individually, taking the time to stop and ask questions – always. They learn about students as people, including their interests, family and work, building positive relationships of support, trust and respect”.
“All staff at St Michael’s College are supportive, welcoming and respectful of one another. Leading by example, they demonstrate inclusivity and respect for each other openly in front of students”
Student voices (‘Statements of Gratitude’ from Year 12 students):
“This teacher may not remember, but when I was transitioning from my old school to St Michael’s College, I attended the school for a trial day, following one of the students through their classes. His class was the one I remember. He was so kind to his students, repeatedly explaining concepts until they understood. He wasn’t phased by the same questions being asked over and over, and he helped every person who walked up to his desk with a question.”
“This teacher is such a sweet and caring person, she is always there for all students, both her own and others, no matter what she is doing at that time, she will drop it to support another.”
“this teacher taught me the value of relationships and that positive relationships are the key to unlocking potential. Sure, he taught us how to factorise polynomials or Newton’s equations of motion and how to build water rockets, but it’s all the things that aren’t in the curriculum that are important. I Thank him for sharing his peace, compassion and joy with us.”
“Through retreat and just normal conversations in Pastoral class, this teacher helped me to understand an adult perspective on life and teaching that gave me a new way of looking at things.”
“This teacher doesn’t teach me this year and hasn’t taught me since year 9 actually. She played a huge role in the way I apply myself and encouraged not only me, but all of my class to cherish education, as it is such a precious thing and is never a burden.”
“Thank you. I learned that it takes work and determination to get anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be any fun. You taught me to take risks and bold steps, to challenge myself and work hard to solve those challenges. You constantly challenged me, but not from a place of hate, fear or aggression but out of a place of love.”