From the rector & principal of saint ignatius’ college riverview
From the rector & principal of saint ignatius’ college riverview
Filter results for Generosity
Friday 23 November 2018 | Fr Jack McLain SJ
The Beginning of the End
This week has been about the beginning of the end. We’re approaching the end of the liturgical, the calendar and the school year all at once, so the rituals associated with this have begun. Last Sunday we had a whole pack of boarders who renewed their resolve to keep living the Christian life as they received the sacrament of confirmation.
One of the significant assemblies of the year was held on Wednesday to profile the cause of service, a spirit and an impulse that lies at the very heartland of Ignatian spirituality. It is one of the most distinguishing features of the educational program in Jesuit schools. Oscar Davies, Captain of the Regis campus spoke with poise and insight about the efforts made by the boys to raise funds for charities which are in desperate need to support all manner of causes.
Late last week, Bruce Turnbull (OR1995) visited the College to speak to the First Nations boys about the opportunities that accrue from an education at Riverview, despite the challenges that are part of leaving home at a young age to board and being immersed in a demanding educational program. Bruce, who is one of the earliest graduates of the Indigenous Bursary Program (as it was then called), is currently the Aboriginal Education Officer at Bourke High School. His second daughter is enrolled at Loreto Normanhurst, forming part of a family and generational change that is aimed to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, one that the College has been committed to over the last 20 plus years.
This has been a week where I’ve been in meetings seemingly non-stop. I can’t find anything really compelling to share with you about those meetings, but two non-meeting events from the last week really stand out.
First, in an eﬀort to lead by example with regard to the sustainability of creation, we’ve equipped the staff with some new hot/cold thermal cups so that we can totally get rid of the disposable cups from our food services. Living toward a sustainable world is a challenge; it inconveniences us from what we are used to; it means we have to grow and change. Not just our actions, but in our disposition and our ideas. It’s not comfortable but we know, at a fundamental level, that it’s right.
As a nation, we were stunned in one sense, and yet not in another, by the events in the national parliament last week. The numbers had changed, Turnbull was out, and in the form of Scott Morrison, the 30th Prime Minister in Australian history and the 6th in the last 10 years was elected to lead a new government. It was theatrical stuff involving the skulduggery of party politics, the partitioning of numbers, the consummation of alliances forged through shadowed conversations and brittle allegiances, producing a media frenzy that eclipsed so many other issues of grave importance in the country.
What a week! From the incredible excitement of the game against Saint Joseph’s College to the craftsmanship of the works on display in the TAS show to the investiture of the new proctors at Mass on Sunday to the generosity displayed by our community for those being tested by the drought to the Year 12s beginning their trials, there is so much going on, it’s hard to keep up. But even in the diversity and busy-ness of all this activity, there’s a theme that keeps shining through to me: Generosity.
Beauty can take a lot of different forms. For me, this week has been highlighted by the varied places we can find and experience beauty. The opening of the HSC Art Exhibition on Friday displayed many different expressions of beauty; from small, intimate black and white stipples of mountain scenes to a series of widely varied portraits of professional surfers and abstract reflections on time displayed in a series of drawers, the men of Year 12 really put on an exceptional display of how you can draw together interest and passion with expression and produce incredible beauty. That continued on Sunday afternoon as the HSC Drama Showcase gave an opportunity for students to give expression to the breadth of experience of what it means to be human.
Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview initiated the Friends Listen Assembly in 2015, in a call to be ‘men for others’. This senior school assembly speaks to cura personalis – where we show care for each and every student, at the deepest and most intimate of levels.
The theme of the Student Mass during the week was Staying True – something of a leitmotif in Jesuit education. It represents an amalgam of the spirit of Lent while embracing the practical implications of the student motto for 2018: Many Wolves, One Pack. Lent is a time to go inwards to develop the interior life; an opportunity to reflect deeply on those habits, foibles and frailties that hold us back from being who we need to be; of adopting attitudes and actions that promote generosity, inclusivity and service.
This week I was in Melbourne for a meeting of Directors of Advancement from the Jesuit schools. We talked about the spiritual dimension of fundraising and how central giving was to Saint Ignatius, our patron and the founder of the Jesuits. For a large part of his life, Ignatius was radically dependent on God to provide everything he needed: money for studies, books, a place to live, food, clothing; you name it, Ignatius had to beg for it.
In the Religious Education class I teach with Dr. Hine, we start off with ethics and the questions of right behaviour. Fundamentally, we ask the question: “What is the Good, and how do I act in a way that is Good?” One of my moral theology professors used to say that every human action is a moral action. That in every choice we make, we decide what is Good and we act in a way that either grows the Good or diminishes it.
Tuesday 13th February was the 10th Anniversary of the National Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the mistakes, the crimes and the institutional disadvantage that has resulted for First Nations communities through colonisation and the dispossession of traditional lands and culture. The last 230 years has seen some very dark and regrettable chapters in Australian history, such as the Stolen Generation where children were taken from their families under forced re-settlement schemes as a result of government policies.
At the beginning of the holidays, I joined the Open Basketballers as they launched the rebranding of Basketball in line with our College ethos. As with the Opens Rugby last year, the culture of sport’s representation at this level is never to be about entitlement or status. Rather, it is an opportunity to model authentic values, to be of service to others, to acknowledge that position entails responsibility, and to discover that even in sport God may be found when one has eyes to see.