August 28, 2012
The feast day of Saint Mary MacKillop has a special place in the hearts of the school community of St Joseph’s Tobruk Memorial School at Beenleigh.
Our school was started by the Josephite sisters in 1954 for 97 students. We have grown a little since then and now 456 students and 30 staff members attend this Josephite school. How blessed are we to have one of Mary’s girls, Sister Jenny Scari with us on staff! Mary MacKillop’s feast day is always a special day for Sister Jenny and our Josephite school. It is a day when we stop and reflect on what it means for us to be staff, students and parents at a Josephite school. This year, it is even more special for Sister Jenny as she celebrates her 40 th year since she joined the order.
Mary MacKillop day has been truly a day of great joy. The celebrations included an early start for the staff as they came together for a before school breakfast. This was followed by a Mass filled with much prayer, reflection and happy singing and included a song, ‘Great Joy’ composed by one of our own teachers Margaret Hatzis. At the conclusion of our Mass, Sr Jenny was presented with handmade cards from each class that were filled with words of love and appreciation written by the children of St Joseph’s. We then enjoyed a lunchtime sausage sizzle provided by our parent community. The day ended with a Celebration of Song during which our school choir and each class delighted us with the voices of angels.
Sister Jenny lives out the charism of Mary MacKillop in many ways. Her Friday morning cuppa is legendary and very well attended by parents,the garden that she tends so lovingly is admired by all, her listening ear is sought after by children and adults alike, her helping hands are there for all in need and her compassionate heart is open to all. Her presence and work within the our school community is greatly appreciated.
In an interview that our Year 7 students conducted today with Sister Jenny, one of the questions was, “What do you think Mary MacKillop smiles about as she looks at St Joseph’s Tobruk Memorial School?” Sister Jenny answered: “ I think she would smile down on St Joseph’s and I think she would be happy that the kids are trying their hardest. When we gather together as a school, Mary would be happy that the teachers have taught us that we need to be quiet, calm and respectful and that it is a special time for yourself with God. I also think she would be smiling because our parents and teachers are trying to help us to be the best we can be.”
Another question for Sister Jenny was,”What makes you happy working here at St Joseph’s? We smiled as we listened to her answer; ” The children, teachers and parents make me happy. All the beautiful smiles I get from these people. A rewarding time for me is after working with a child to see them really starting to believe in themselves and their own goodness. It is a privilege for me to visit some families and share their sorrows but also their joyful times as well.”
At the end of our joy filled day, the gold coins that the children had donated were collected and counted to be sent to the re-establishment fund of the park on which the original Josephite school was at Penola. And Sister Jenny’s favourite Mary MacKillop saying? 'We must teach more by example than by words.' Sister Jenny certainly lives out Mary’s words.