Upholding the Catholic Teachings and the Legacy of Mercy – Jennifer Oaten

What is Faith?

Faith extends across different cultures and different time periods and encourages us to reflect on the purpose of our existence. Everyone has faith in something or someone, and most people live their lives based on some sort of belief system. Faith needs something or someone in which we believe, trust, and have confidence in. As a Catholic, God is the person we believe, trust and have confidence in.

Faith is very personal and serves as a guiding light, providing us with strength and purpose. Our Catholic faith is shared through scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ and is nourished through sacramental life, such as through Mass.

Our faith provides a moral compass, shaping our beliefs and values, which then guide our actions. Faith influences the decisions and choices we make and is often an anchor when we are faced with life’s challenges.

As a Catholic school in the Mercy Tradition, we are guided not only by Catholic teachings but also by our Mercy Charism. Our Mercy Charism, established by our foundress Catherine McAuley, encourages us to live the spirit of mercy, showing compassion, kindness, and forgiveness, reflecting the heart of Christ in our interactions with others.

Learning about Faith

Learning about Faith is an important part of our students’ education. It enables our students to cultivate empathy, compassion, and a sense of social responsibility, empowering them to make a positive impact in their community through service.

Our Mercy Values guide us, forming the backbone of our actions and decisions. Learning about our values of Hospitality, Compassion, Justice, Service, and Excellence provides a framework for all, not just at school but for life. Through our values, we strive to create a welcoming community where everyone belongs, acts with empathy, promotes respectful relationships, responds to those in need, and perseveres with courage to achieve their personal best. As a community, we believe our students live their faith by demonstrating our Mercy values daily. Our Mercy values act as the moral foundation upon which our actions are built. Our Mission statement, “Educating young Mercy women who act with courage and compassion to enrich our world,”  also emphasises our values.

Religious Education is a core subject in Catholic schools and an integral part of our students’ learning about faith. It is designed to deepen their understanding of faith and its relevance in their lives. Through these programs, we hope students will develop knowledge and a deeper understanding of and relationship with God. It is hoped that with these foundations, they will be able to make informed decisions about faith and values in their lives and gain an understanding of how they can contribute meaningfully to the world.

Faith Experiences - Our Opening Mass

The start of each school year commences with an Opening Mass, a faith experience that enables our community to unite as one. Father Phillip celebrated our 2024 Opening Mass, with over 2000 students, staff, and parents gathering on the Figure 8 with the magnificent backdrop of the Swan River. This time of gathering as a community in prayer enables us to give thanks and pray for the new year.

Many may ask why we commence the year with Mass when our world is so secular. Celebrating the Eucharist is an important part of what makes a school a Catholic school. Jesus is at the heart of everything we do, and this time enables us to be open to a deeper relationship with Jesus. The Eucharist (another name for the Mass) is a Greek word that simply means ‘giving thanks’. The Eucharist enables us to feel and understand the presence of God through the words of the Gospel, through song and through connection to our natural surroundings.

Other Faith experiences are varied and include Mass, Rosary, Prayer, Liturgies, Reflection Days, Year 12 Retreat, and Staff Retreat. Through these opportunities, we not only enrich the spiritual lives of our students but also foster social awareness and the value of service to others.

These experiences contribute to the sense of community and shared values among students, teachers, and parents.

Please click HERE to read the Principal’s Opening Mass address on our 2024 Mercy Value of Hospitality.

Faith in Action - Service to Others

We encourage all our students to see the strong link between faith, our values and giving service to others. Service is our beliefs and values in action. It is an expression of compassion, empathy, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. When offering a helping hand to those in need, service becomes the bridge that connects our inner faith and values to the world around us.

We are committed to putting our faith into action by actively engaging our students in community service and social justice initiatives. We partner with numerous organisations to address social issues such as poverty, homelessness, and environmental conservation. Our immersion programs provide firsthand experience of the challenges faced by communities in need, fostering cultural understanding and a commitment to social justice.

How Can Parents Support Our Faith Journey?

Parenting is an enormous responsibility that entails nurturing, guiding, and supporting children on their journey through life. One important aspect of this journey is the development of faith. Parents play a significant role in shaping their children’s spiritual growth and instilling values. Here are some ways parents can support their children’s faith journey.

  • Open Communication About Faith – Openly discussing faith with your children is important. When parents share their personal experiences with faith, read scripture, and connect with their children on a spiritual level, it fosters a healthy environment for faith development. Encouraging questions and discussions about faith help children understand and personalise their beliefs. Creating a safe, trusting environment is crucial for children to explore and express their faith.
  • Leading by Example – Parents are the first role models for their children. By fostering their own relationship with Jesus, parents can inspire their children to do the same. Actions often speak louder than words, so living out faith principles or agreed family values can make a profound impression on young people
  • Encouraging Spiritual Growth – Parents can nurture their child’s faith by providing opportunities for spiritual growth. This could include family prayer time, attending religious services together, or participating in faith-based community service.

Santa Maria is more than just a school; it is a nurturing environment where young women are empowered to act with courage and compassion, guided by Catholic teachings and a rich Mercy tradition. We are proud of our history, our values, and our mission, and we invite you to join us on this journey of faith, learning, and service.

Scroll to Top