News & Events

Missioning of Stephen Walsh OLMC Principal

As the oldest continuous ministry of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, Our Lady of Mercy College holds a special place in the history and hearts of the Parramatta Sisters, as indeed the education of women was close to the heart of Catherine McAuley:

“The Sisters shall be convinced that no work of charity can be more productive of good to society, or more conducive to the happiness of others, than the careful instruction of women; because, whatever be the station they are destined to fill, their example and their advice will always have great influence”  Catherine McAuley

Commencing within 4 weeks of the Sisters’ arrival from Callan in 1888, the College was administered for its first 115 years by only seven Principals, each being a Sister of Mercy.

In 2003, the First Lay Principal, Mrs Kitty Guerin, was appointed and generously served the College for the past 10 years. Kitty retired at the end of 2013, having steered the College through a significant building program, and numerous changes within the education sector.

At the Opening Mass for the 2014 year at the College, Mr Stephen Walsh was missioned by Sister Catherine Ryan, Congregation Leader, as the Ninth principal of the College, charged with the responsibility to continue the education of young women and girls at the College in the Mercy Tradition.

Stephen joins the College at a significant point in its history. As the community both celebrates the many successes and achievements of the past 125 years, and looks forward to its future in providing the very best in educational opportunities for girls and young women in the 21st Century. Stephen brings to his role a commitment to the Mercy Values and significant experience in teaching and educational administration within the Catholic Education System.


Respect for the Planet's Resources -Pope's Prayer Intention for September 2020

Let us pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner. No to plundering; yes to sharing.

Text of the video:

We are squeezing out the planet’s goods. Squeezing them out, as if the earth were an orange.

Countries and businesses from the global north have enriched themselves by exploiting the natural resources of the south, creating an “ecological debt.” Who is going to pay this debt?
In addition, this “ecological debt” is increased when multinationals do abroad what they would never be allowed to do in their own countries. It’s outrageous.
Today, not tomorrow; today, we have to take care of Creation responsibly.
Let us pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner.
No to plundering; yes to sharing.

Pope Francis, September 2020

Yasmine Alwakal achieves 10th place in the World Individual and Public Speaking Competition

Yasmine Alwakal, Year 11 student and Head Girl at Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta has taken the world by storm in the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition (WIDPSC) finishing in 10th place overall.

Performing in the Grand Finals last weekend via Zoom, Yasmine has achieved a remarkable result - the best result ever achieved by an OLMC student!

The Championships were due to be held in Shanghai, China in April, however, COVID-19 prevented the event from going ahead. Fortunately, the titles were rescheduled through Zoom from the 14-24 August.

Yasmine competed against approximately 60 of the best students from every corner the world that all qualified through the National Titles.

‘Considering the circumstances, this competition has been an extremely insightful experience that has enabled me the opportunity to challenge myself and compete in such a unique forum. In a time when so many competitions have come to a halt, I feel privileged to have the resources and opportunities to compete online. The competition enabled me to form friendships and connections with speakers from all around the world and strengthen my own public speaking abilities.’ said Yasmine.

WIDPSC requires students to interact and collaborate with like-minded peers from diverse and different schools, cultural backgrounds and countries. Each participant must compete in four different events: Debate, Impromptu Speaking, Persuasive or After Dinner Speaking and Interpretive Reading.

In her 10-minute Persuasive speech, Yasmine explored the unreliable nature of evidence.

An excerpt from the novel ‘Night Rainbow’, was chosen by Yasmine for her Interpretive reading. This focussed on the nature of grieving.

Two debates were live on Zoom, the first one about whether private schools should be forced to subsidise those students in need in their local area and the second about whether we should have a four-day working week.

For her first live impromptu speech, Yasmine chose ‘Outrage’ and looked at how we need to change the Australian image. The topic of ‘You’ll be caught’ was chosen for her second impromptu about the importance of monitoring the idea of truth in media.

Principal (Acting) Marie Wood of Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta, said the College community is proud of the outstanding achievement of Yasmine. ‘Yasmine’s results can be attributed to her hard work, dedication and motivation. This event provided an avenue for Yasmine, not only to practise and test her oratorical skills, but to value the importance of the art of expression. Her results are a testament to Public Speaking and Debating at OLMC.’

Media Inquiries:
Allison McNally
Communications Officer
OLMC Parramatta 
Tel: (02)- 8838 1241

Mercy Works: Mercy Connect Perth Opening Up

This year, Mercy Connect Perth began the year like any other. Supporting 22 schools located mostly in Perth’s north-eastern and south-eastern suburbs. 62 volunteers were gearing up again to walk back through school gates to mentor refugee and asylum seeker students both new and old.

It was as the month of March was coming to an end, that Mercy Connect did too. The rapid onset on the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown volunteering across Australia.

In line with other states, Western Australia implemented strict measures to restrict movement in an aim to suppress the spread of COVID-19. This meant the closure of schools and the temporary closure of the Mercy Connect program in Perth.

Gradual improvements in the state’s level of virus transmission, gave the WA Department of Education the results needed to once again allow visitors into schools.

Volunteers have been able to enter schools since the 8th of June, however, many of them have made their own decisions about when they will return. Some chose to go back immediately while others have decided to wait until they are ready.

They were continually informed about the situation giving them the facts to make an educated decision, keeping their own safety their number one priority.

Volunteers have expressed their gratitude to our Coordinator, Jennifer Davies, who stayed in contact throughout these difficult times. They have shared statements of support and excitement as they begin again mentoring the students they had suddenly left behind back in March.

‘It’s wonderful to be back in the classroom. I missed the children a lot and they were all so excited and pleased to see me again.’ – Geraldine

‘I would love to resume as soon as my school would like to do so.’ – Janine

‘We have decided to start fresh in Term 3 giving time for the Principal to organise my assistance in the classroom.’ - Rose

Mercy Connect doesn’t only consist of in-school mentoring but also adult English Language classes for parents who are also refugees and asylum seekers. These classes are held at Koondoola Primary School where up to 15 parents attend sessions. They are assisted by three volunteers and our Coordinator, Jennifer, to improve their English language skills in weekly classes.

Now that these classes have resumed, Mercy Connect Perth is back up and running as it was before the sudden lockdown. While nothing is the same, it is comforting to know that
essential support services are able to continue assisting some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

The Maritime World: Pope's Prayer Intention for August 2020

We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: The Maritime World

Let us pray for all those who work and live from the sea, among them sailors, fishermen and their families.

The life of sailors or fishermen and their families is very difficult.
Sometimes they are victims of forced labor or are left behind in distant ports.
The competition of industrial fishing and the problem of pollution make their work even more complicated.
Without the people of the sea, many parts of the world would starve.
Let us pray for all those who work and live from the sea, among them sailors, fishermen and their families.
—Pope Francis, August 2020

We invite you to post a prayer or reflection in our prayer space