News & Events

Ex-students Join Panel for OLMC Parramatta Women in Leadership Forum

On Wednesday 26 May, Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta held its fourth annual Women in Leadership Forum in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre.

Students, staff and families were joined by alumnae and visitors from other schools at this inspirational evening. The event was a chance to hear from a panel of women which included OLMC ex-students Melanie Silva (VP, Managing Director for Google Australia and New Zealand, from the OLMC Class of 1994) and Dr Natalie Galea (Academic, Activist and Olympian, from the OLMC Class of 1991), along with Professor Deborah Richards (Department of Computing at Macquarie University) and Michelle Lee (Adventurer and Athlete).

The speakers imparted their perspectives on women and leadership, sharing their stories of successes, opportunities and challenges, with honestly and humility. OLMC Parramatta ex-students Melanie and Natalie reflected on their positive experiences at the College, both concluding that OLMC imbued in them a strong conviction that it was possible for them to achieve anything. “I walked out of OLMC thinking that I can do whatever I want to do,” said Melanie. She went on to implore those present to “stay curious, follow your passions and take some risks because you will always learn from them.” Natalie continued in a similar theme, highlighting that, whilst at OLMC, she felt a strong feeling of fierceness, that anything was possible, and that social justice could be achieved.

Professor Deborah Richards focussed on the qualities of leadership, describing good leaders as consultative: “They listen and respect other people’s goals, beliefs and values – understanding that each person is their own person with unique experiences. She shared her belief that being a leader means being someone who is worthy of being followed. Adventurer and Athlete Michelle Lee focused on the importance of being true to yourself and connecting emotionally with your goal: “by following my heart and being true to my compass, I found my purpose.”

Principal Lucie Farrugia said she was inspired by their messages of courage and service and how they resonated with our Mercy community: “This was an extraordinary night where all our speakers have inspired and ignited in us a sense of limitless possibilities.”

Established in 1889, OLMC Parramatta is a leading independent Catholic girls’ school which provides contemporary and innovative learning in the rich Mercy tradition. As one of the oldest Catholic Girls’ schools in NSW, our rich history of excellence inspires our young Mercy women to expand beyond what they know they can be and to lead with courage and act justly, making a difference in an ever-changing world.

Media Inquiries
:         Christine Pace
                                      
Communications Officer OLMC Parramatta
                                 christine.pace@olmc.nsw.edu.au


Sisters Celebrate 75 years since Memorial Chapel Opening

This was a significant event in acknowledging not only the 125 year history of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, but the very beginnings of Religious Life in Australia. The current Convent of Mercy Site is the site of the first Convent in Australia, originally inhabited by the Sisters of Charity.

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Anthony Fisher, Bishop of the Parramatta Diocese. The celebration was also attended by representatives of the three “pioneering” women’s religious orders who have served the people of Parramatta and surrounding areas since 1839: The Sisters of Charity, The Sisters of the Good Samaritan, and the Sisters of Mercy North Sydney.

The history, beauty and creativity of this sacred place, dedicated to the memory of our Pioneer Sisters, and erected by the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta 50 years after their arrival in Parramatta, has been captured in a magnificent concertina guide to the Chapel produced by Sr Rosemary Crumlin, rsm, for the event, and launched on the day.

Sr Rosemary has produced several books, and curated a number of exhibitions which have explored Art and Spirituality.  In producing this concertina guide, Sr Rosemary worked with Photographer Hamilton Lund to deliver a stunning guide not only to the artist design and application within the Chapel, but to the history and spirituality housed within its windows and walls.

Over 45 years of Mercy Principalship gathered in one room

Collectively, the four Principals account for over 45 years of Principalship of the College’s 125 year history.

There have only been 9 principals of the College since its opening in 1889. The first 7 Principals covering 115 years, were Sisters of Mercy. In 2004, Mrs Kitty Guerin was appointed as the first Lay Principal of the College. Following the retirement of Kitty at the end of 2013, Mr Stephen Walsh was appointed as the 9th and first male Principal of the College.

The lunch was hosted by Congregation Leader Sr Catherine Ryan, and members of the Congregation Leadership team. Apart from representing a significant moment in the history of the College and the Congregation, the lunch provided an opportunity for the past Principalship to share their reflections on their time as Principal with Stephen. Each of the former Principals recalled a significant memory, some humorous stories, and shared their hopes for the future of the College and Mercy Education.

The Past Principals present were:

  • Sr Edith Angel, Principal 1966 - 1977
  • Sr Janet Woods, Principal 1978 – 1989
  • Sr Ailsa Mackinnon, Principal 1990 – 2004
  • Mrs Kitty Guerin, Principal, 2004 - 2013

Celebrating the past - Looking to the future

The nine Pioneer Sisters, the leader of whom had agreed “to go [to Parramatta] if sent”, would never have imagined the extent to which their vision and hopes for Mercy in this new place, would have spread and evolved over the following 125 years.

In reflecting over these 125 years, the current sisters acknowledged and celebrate the significant contribution of our lay co-workers, partners and supporters to this history, and the central place they will occupy in the future of Mercy.

From this awareness and recognition, and the context of our current reality as an ageing Congregation, the “Mercy Futures” concept was born – a collaborative effort between Sisters and those committed to taking Catherine McAuley’s vision of Mercy Forward.

“Hurrah for new foundations,
they make the old young, and the young merry”
Catherine McAuley

The “Mercy Futures" group, comprised of past and present Sisters of Mercy, co-workers, supporters and volunteers, ex-students, and friends, made a significant contribution to the 125 years celebration on December the 8th, and presented their vision for taking Mercy forward, crystallised in the creation of “Mercy Place”, from which the efforts and activities of this group will be based, and education and formation for Mercy mission and ministry in its various forms will be offered.

At a recent gathering of the Mercy Futures group, the Congregation advised of its decision to provide a cottage, on the grounds of the Present Congregation Centre in Parramatta, as “Mercy Place”.

As the group now works to develop its structures, plans and activities, we invite you to consider being a part of the future of Mercy.

Find out more

 

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.