back to main page View Previous Issues

Building Bridges

On Thursday, 9 August, Siena College hosted students from Christian, Jewish and Muslim schools, keen to engage in interfaith dialogue, promoting mutual understanding, respect and ethical behaviour across religious diversities to encourage the development of competent global leaders of the 21st century. Our Year 10 Building Bridges students presented this program with confidence and pride in their Dominican and faith traditions, showcasing the College and our Catholic identity.

If the visiting schools arrived early enough, we treated them to a tour of the College ahead of the main program of the night. Engaged and animated chatter filled the air as questions and answers brimming with pride reflected respectful yet probing dialogue. 

The first session began in our beautiful Convent courtyard with a warm welcome and explanation as to the purpose of, and history behind, our Tuscan styled cloisters. We visited the Prioress' cell and the Archives room before all eighty of us squeezed in to our stunning but tiny chapel. Again, our Year 10 students spoke with confidence about the significance of the altar, the Tabernacle and  the Stations of the Cross. St Catherine’s relic featured which created a range of interested responses from those from other traditions. 

Once settled in the Hall, our Year 10 students spoke with conviction to the Building Bridges cohort about that which is unique to Catholicism, our understanding of the Sacraments as key highlights/markers of our faith journey, the significance of Catholic Social Teaching and the beauty of the Dominican charism. We shared photos, and artefacts by way of the Baptismal candle, Christening robe, rosary beads and our new Catholic Social Teaching poster.

Our delicious halal/kosher dinner was enjoyed by all. Encounter and dialogue featured as we celebrated the company of our guests with this shared quintessential human experience. The evening concluded in small group discussions of mixed genders. This last session was pronounced, ‘way too short’ and ‘hugely successful’ by all participating. Our final Building Bridges evening will be held at Bialik College in a couple of weeks to which we look forward with great anticipation. 

‘I enjoyed hosting the Building Bridges night as it was fascinating to hear about the similarities and differences between schools from different beliefs and faith traditions. It’s interesting to ask people questions about their religions as this isn’t something that you often discuss. We have all met so many lovely people and it was nice to show them what our school is like and to talk to them about both religious and everyday things.’ Hannah Hine, Year 10

go back