News & Events

Mercy Formation Program for Staff Members Benefits Students

As students returned to schooling on site after their time doing remote learning they were all given a bookmark to remind them both of the Mercy value of ‘Hospitality’ and to follow in Venerable Catherine McAuley’s words to ‘Strive to do ordinary things extraordinarily well”.

The bookmarks were designed by teachers Ms Allen and Ms Nakhoul as part of their project for the Mercy Formation Program. This program sees two staff members from each of the six Mercy schools in Sydney (Catherine McAuley, Westmead; Mercy College, Chatswood; Monte Sant' Angelo, North Sydney; Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta; Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer and Emmaus College, Kemps Creek) participate after being nominated by their school principal. The staff involved chose a project to work on which will deepen staff understanding of the Mercy charism.

As part of the project undertaken by Ms Allen and Ms Nakhoul, they also designed tea cups and postcards to be gifted to Year 12 students as a graduation gift and to new staff members.

The Australian Aborigines - The World's First Astronomers

Professor Ray Norris in his presentation on Saturday August 29 at Parramatta Congregation Centre presented a picture of traditional Australian Aborigines, as people who did understand country from the point of both sky and earth and linked the two. From reading the sky, they knew what season it was and what food sources would be available on earth. Furthermore, they used the stars for purposes of navigation (songlines) and calendars.

Ray talked about the debt he owed to Aboriginal elders in Arnhem Land and South Eastern Australia. These elders taught him much about Aboriginal Astronomy. Most importantly that they found as much meaning in the dark patches in the sky as the Europeans found in the patterns of stars in the constellations.

From the Aboriginal stories he came to the conclusion that the traditional Aborigines had an extensive knowledge of the sky and its movements. Naturally, they explained what they observed according to their culture and myths. For example they used images such as the Emu in the Sky to explain a certain dark area and related the waning and waxing of the moon to the fate of the Moon Man who was attacked by his wives for his behavior, only to die and rise again and again. The early European astronomers, on the other hand, related what they observed using Greek mythology.

With wonderful images of rock paintings, sculptures and formations, Ray demonstrated how the Aborigines, used works of art to bring down to earth what they saw in the heavens. In this way, they depicted the eclipses of sun, moon and planets. To give an example, the People of North-West Arnhem land portrayed a solar eclipse, when the moon covers the sun, as a man covering a woman as he makes love to her. There is some evidence from rock formations at Wurdi Youang in Victoria, that early Aborigines measured the Equinox and Midwinter and Midsummer sunsets. Though the latter requires more research to be a proven fact.

From the point of view of land management, the Aborigines for thousand of years knew how to tend country. Using fire and the life cycle of native animals and plants, they were able to ensure plentiful wild life and plant food throughout the year and had successful healing remedies for many aliments. The early Europeans commented that the Australian landscape they encountered, looked like a park that evoked an English country estate, albeit it without fences, with the Aborigines walking around as landlords.

Throughout his presentation, Ray emphasised the intelligence, skill and inherited knowledge of Aboriginal Australians and highlighted the limited vision underlying myths of Aboriginal backwardness that obsessed the colonial mindset and the views of many academic anthropologists and ethnographers.

Being a scientist Ray hesitated to say beyond reasonable doubt that the Australian Aborigines were the World’s First Astronomers. He acknowledges it as a hypothesis, still in the process of being disproved or verified.

Participants at the gathering expressed appreciation of this scholarly and interesting presentation that opened us to the richness of Aboriginal astronomy and the depth of Aboriginal care for country. I think we all left with the sense that we still have much to learn from Aborigines about our country and have quite a distance to travel before we become truly Australian.

Professor Ray Norris is an astrophysicist at CSIRO Australia and an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University Department of Indigenous Studies. Currently he is researching Australian Aboriginal Astronomy and the formation of the first galaxies in the universe.

Stella Maris Aged Care Cronulla Receives Perfect Score

As an approved provider of a Residential Aged Care Facility, Stella Maris is required to comply with Accreditation Standards which are articulated in the Quality of Care Principles 2014.

These Quality of Care Principles, are comprised of 4 Standards, 4 Principles and 44 expected outcomes. The 4 standards are:

  • Management systems, staffing and organisational development
  • Health and Personal Care
  • Care recipient lifestyle
  • Physical environment and safe systems

In assessing the compliance of Stella Maris with these Accreditation Standards, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency visited the Facility over a period of 2-3 days this week, inspecting the facility itself, as well as reviewing documentation, policies, procedures and practice. There are also opportunities for Staff, residents and their families to provide feedback to the Assessors.

For each of the 44 expected outcomes which flow from the 4 standards and 4 principles, Stella Maris was not only found to be fully compliant, but there were no recommendations for improvement.

Stella Maris has a long history of delivering compassionate, high quality, residential care to the frail, elderly members of Cronulla and surrounding areas. The Sisters of Mercy are delighted that this Accreditation outcome, again reflects the dedication and commitment of our the wonderful Stella Maris Staff, Board, and the management provided by St Vincent's Health Australia.

To learn more about Stella Maris Aged Care Facility, Cronulla, please click here

Contemplating Compassion - Autumn Series' Final Note

Ms Claire Thomas, Director of Mission at OLMC Parramatta, led participants in a reflection on Compassion informed by Mercy Sister Breege O'Neill's article Called to Compassion.

Drawing on the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the words of Pope Francis, Thomas Merton, and depictions of compassion in classical and contemporary art Claire challenged all present to consider our personal response to people and situations which call for a compassionate response.

This final seminar, concluded the Autumn Series of the Wake Up The World To Mercy Program.

The next series of seminars will begin in Spring.

First Sod Turned for Sr Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre - OLMC Parramatta

The centre, a state of the art building, will provide a multipurpose gathering space large enough to accommodate the whole school community, as well as indoor and rooftop sporting facilities and classrooms.

Artwork commissioned specifically for the building, and reflective of the Mercy Values at the heart of the College's life and mission will adorn the external façade.

Today's ceremony, saw College Principal, Mr Stephen Walsh, joined by immediate past Principal, Mrs Kitty Guerin, Sr Ailsa Mackinnon last Sister of Mercy to serve as Principal, and Former Deputy Principal Mrs Maria Pearson.

Also present were current and former members of college executive and staff, Sr Maria Lawton representing the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, representatives for the Building architects, and appointed builders Reitsma Constructions.

To Learn more of developments in all aspects of the life of the College, Click Here.