From The Principal

Before writing this piece, I finalised my dress up pieces in preparation for the staff dance today.  Alongside all our young women, staff too dance and perform at the Carmel Day concert.  The dedication that all have put into this event is truly exceptional and whilst the concert in the afternoon is amazing, pushing many out of their comfort and into their courage zone, the reason for our feast day is not overlooked.

As noted last week, the Church feast for Our Lady of Mt Carmel falls on 16 July.  However, as this falls in the school holidays, we celebrate Carmel Day during Term 2.  Carmel College is named for Mary, our Lady of Carmel and our devotion to Mary is seen in our school motto, ‘Mana Maria’, Mary as our guide.

At our Carmel Day Mass, Head Girl, Victoria Da Silva will explain the significance of Mount Carmel, which is a mountain overlooking the plain of Galilee.  This mountain became famous when the prophet Elijah, who lived many years before Jesus, was born.  The Book of Kings tells how Elijah stood up to the 450 prophets of the false god Baal.  Through his prayers, God gave Elijah the power to perform a miracle to prove that Elijah’s God was the true God.  This happened on Mount Carmel.

Hundreds of years later, a group of European monks who had a special devotion to Mary, Our Lady, began to live on Mount Carmel and became known as Carmelites.  Simon Stock, an Englishman, became the superior of the Carmelites and when they began to suffer harassment for their faith, they turned to Mary for help.  On 16 July 1251, Mary appeared to St. Simon and promised her protection to those who followed her by wearing a brown scapular.

The statue of Our Lady that is in the school foyer, which was gifted by the foundation pupils of Carmel, has recently been restored.  Whilst I am sure that many have walked past Our Lady some may not have noticed that a brown scapular rests over her hands.  I would like to acknowledge and thank Mr Michael Pervan, from Studio of John the Baptist, for the wonderful restoration he has recently completed of this icon.

At our Carmel Day Mass we will also celebrate what it means to be people of mercy.  Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, said that mercy is the path marked out by Jesus for all those who desire to follow him.  Each student has received a ribbon with this year’s school value on it to wear to Mass.  At the end of Mass we will acknowledge three people in our Carmel community for the particular way they have shown our values in action, walking the path of mercy.  The three people who will be acknowledged are Natalie Linstrom, Ginny Peek and Lois Bruce. Within the newsletter you will be able to read the citation for each Mercy Award recipient.

As we head into a long weekend with Matariki being observed, it is important to reflect on the reasons behind the public holiday and to take some time to reflect on the significance of the Matariki cluster which rises in the winter sky.

Matariki marks the start of the Māori Lunar Calendar, acknowledging an important time in Te Ao Māori, and is significant for all of us as we celebrate our bicultural heritage as a country. Underpinning Matariki are three specific principles:

  • Remembrance – Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki.
  • Reflection – Gathering together to give thanks for what we have.
  • Renewal – Looking forward to the promise of a new year.

Reflecting on each of these principles offers us an opportunity to pause and remember those who have contributed to our lives, to take time to appreciate and celebrate today, and then look forward and set goals so we can realise our best future.

At this time I would like to signal that enrolments for 2025 have closed and that we have a large waiting list, which includes preference students.  It is likely that any students who have applied for 2025 who are not preference will not obtain a place at Carmel.  With the pressure on our school roll, I would appreciate any family whose daughter will not be returning in 2025 to please let the college know.

In light of Carmel Day today, our Carmel College School Prayer;

E te Atua Atawhai,

We thank you for blessing Carmel College.

We give thanks for our Mercy foundation
and for all who have served our Carmel Community.

May Jesus, our teacher,

Mary, our Guide,

and Catherine McAuley, who showed us the path of Mercy,

inspire us:

to be women of service;

who respect others and creation;

who advocate for justice;

who show courage and care in all our actions;

and who walk humbly with you, our God.