Tomorrow, we celebrate Mercy Day
This day is celebrated internationally to remember the work done by Catherine McAuley after she founded a home to shelter and educate young girls in 1827, in Dublin, Ireland. The Mercy Order was then established and their work in New Zealand in education and health is well known by many. The Mercy Order is one of the three orders who contributed to the rich history of Kavanagh College and these women sit proudly alongside the Dominicans and the Edmund Rice Foundation. In order to keep the history of our college in mind, and the efforts of the three Orders who created the foundation of Catholic schooling in Dunedin, we have put more of a focus on their three Feast Days this year. Tomorrow is for Ambrose and McAuley houses to celebrate their special day.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Edmund Rice Conference recently in Auckland at Liston College. Again, I was reminded of the importance of Kavanagh’s gospel values. Justice was a strong theme throughout the weekend and we were treated to powerful keynote speakers including Pania Newton (lawyer and Ihumātao campaigner), Meng Foon (Race Relations Commissioner), and Iafeta Matalasi who brought everyone to tears speaking about mercy and forgiveness (https://www.1news.co.nz/2021/03/13/sunday-feature-father-wins-seven-year-battle-to-meet-his-sons-murderer/).
Creating a moral compass to live by is something we all do, often unconsciously. Our own values set is developed over time by our upbringing, our friends, our experiences and our belief system. We go off course often and ignore the compass! I like to think that reminders of our values – respect, service, justice and truth – are what gets us back on course. Reminders that I experienced during the conference, of the importance of justice, equity and mercy, help me with my decision making at school. It is easy to make the popular decision. It isn’t always easy to make the decision that has justice, equity and mercy at its core, but is the right thing to do. And a few people – Catherine McAuley, Edmund Rice, Pope Francis and Jesus Christ himself – are pretty good role models to keep the compass steady. My hope for all our young people at school here, is that they can use our college values and the example of our Mercy, Dominican and Edmund Rice charisms, to shape their own moral compasses.
Our termly newsletter, Ipsa Duce, will be produced next week and it has a good wrap up of some of the important events of the term. With one week to go, I wish you all a great spring holiday break, and we will see you all back in October with a packed calendar as we count down towards the end of the year.