Thursday, 20 February is noted as World Day of Social Justice.
The United Nations writes, “Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability."
In the Dominican tradition, justice is Christ centred. It urges us to act as Jesus did, as Dominic and Catherine did, in being bearers of truth in our world. We act as they did when we read the signs of the times (the needs of the world), with the eyes of faith. Why? Because we believe that dignity and fullness of life is for all. In reflecting on this United Nations and Dominican theme I went looking for signs of this commitment within our community. This week and next, our students have opportunities to engage in justice advocacy and action in the following ways: sandwich making at St Dominic’s, Caritas Just Leadership Seminar, South African Immersion formation, Red Earth Indigenous Immersion opportunity, Big Sister Little Sister lunch, Project Compassion launch, Eco Warriors Action Group and the list continues. This is not Siena in a moment in time, nor is it Siena in self promotion mode. Rather, it is simply Siena living faith and belief, providing our students with opportunities to enact our spoken commitment to justice and service as part of the rhythm of our days.
This week was a significant one of celebration. How wonderful it was to gather with several Dominican sisters, trustees of Dominican Education Australia, students and families of Year 7 and student leaders from Years 8 to 12 to celebrate our Commencement Mass at St Dominic’s on Tuesday evening. Sincere appreciation is extended to Fr Peter Murnane OP, Jen Levett and Kerryn McGillen for leading our Eucharistic celebration. Thank you also to Chair of the Board, Kath McCarthy for leading my commissioning as Principal and to all staff for their presence. Our student leaders were similarly inducted and have already shown their commitment to service in their roles.
The following day saw the return of students from the Class of 2019 for our Celebration of Excellence whole school assembly. It was delightful to see their enthusiasm in returning to Siena to celebrate their achievements with family and friends. What fine examples these young women are to those who follow. We thank Emilee Molcik, the 2019 College Dux, for addressing the assembly, sharing her wisdom and practical tips for success. Emilee acknowledged the steadfast support of family, teachers and a wonderful 2019 cohort of peers. This assembly provided all present with the strong sense of Siena’s commitment to learning excellence and success in its many expressions for all students.