This week we have all been witness to a historic moment as Queen Elizabeth II was farewelled. I am sure in one way or another, we all took note and reflected on how prominent her reign as Queen has been over the last 70 years. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, summed up this time when she said “For the vast majority of New Zealanders, [Queen Elizabeth] is the only monarch we have known, and so upon her death we enter a time of change; one filled with sadness for her passing but also gratitude for the life she lead and the example she set.”
During the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, it has been widely recognised that she was a woman who found strength in her faith. This aligns with what we want in our community as we too want our young women to find strength as Mercy women who consciously live by their values, which will see them being compassionate and respectful whilst seeking justice for others and themselves, as they have courage to pursue their ambitions.
Our school’s foundations are heavily rooted in our Mercy values and this week we marked the transfer of the Mt Carmel Convent to Carmel College Auckland Limited. This historic building is far more than a building. It is from here that Carmel College grew. The homestead was purchased in 1922 by the Sisters of Mercy Auckland Trust and by 1925 a small school of 13 students had opened under the headteacher, Sr M. Dymphna.
In the mid 1950’s a decision was made to build a college, and many of the Sisters who were the college staff also lived in the Convent, including our first Principal, Sr Mary Justine. Although Catherine McAuley never came to New Zealand, the work that she began in Ireland did make it across the world, and her influence is certainly felt.
Below is the blessing that Sr Rosemary Revell, proprietor representative on our Board of Trustees and member of the Carmel College Auckland Limited Board, read during the transfer ritual.
‘Catherine McAuley wrote that no work of charity can be more productive of good society than the careful instruction of women. Spirit of God, bless those who will work in this space with and for the good of young women of Carmel College. Through your transforming power help them to respond courageously to the Gospel call. Inspired by the example of Catherine McAuley may they carry the Good News of your mercy to the world.’
As Week 9 of Term 3 draws to an end, and as we take time on Monday to reflect on Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day, let us also reflect on a ‘lesson’ from Catherine McAuley; ‘The simplest and most practical lesson I know……. is to resolve to be good today but better tomorrow. Let us take one day in hand at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow. Thus, may we hope to get on, taking short, careful steps, not great strides.’