Celebrating 175 Years of Mercy Education

Santa Maria College is proud to be celebrating 175 Years of Mercy Education in Australia. In February 1846, Mother Ursula Frayne and her companions arrived from Ireland bringing Mercy Education to our western shores. The Christian Brothers also from Ireland, established schools and institutions with an educational mission in Australia in 1843.

In recognition of our founders, parents, and alumni from Santa Maria and Aquinas College embarked on a pilgrimage to retrace their footsteps and honour the wonderful legacy they have left us. Our alumni reminisced about when the Mercy Sisters were a part of daily life at the College and the lasting impression they had on them.

The pilgrimage started with a ritual at Bathers Beach, Fremantle, and included stops on route to Perth. Pilgrims boarded the boat in Fremantle and journeyed up the Swan River to Barrack Street Jetty. This would have been the exact route the first Sisters of Mercy took, albeit in a much slower vessel, and the scenery would have been very different all those years ago.

On arrival in the city, several significant stops were made allowing the pilgrims to reflect on the experience of our founders in the early days of the colony.

The day concluded with a visit to the final resting places of the founding Sisters and the heritage centre at Mercedes College, the first Mercy School in Australia. We hope the day brought to life the story of our founders and their lasting impact on Catholic Education in Western Australia.

Special thanks to our alumni volunteers for making the day a memorable experience for all those who attended.

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