Mission Leaders Conference 2017

Mar 27, 2017

The annual Good Samaritan Education Mission Leaders Conference was held at Mount Saint Benedict Centre at Pennant Hills on the 2nd and 3rd March. This conference brings Mission leaders from all ten Good Samaritan Colleges in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria together to meet, re-connect and discuss current issues relating to our leadership.

The theme this year, ‘Exploring Catholic Identity in a Good Samaritan Education School.’ Ms Audrey Brown, the Director of Catholic Education Ballarat, facilitated three sessions on Day One, focusing on this theme.

The first day of the conference was divided into three sessions examining aspects of Catholic identity in schools today. In the first session we explored the purpose and theological foundations of the Leuven Research Project. We reviewed the types of religious beliefs, particularly the Post Critical Belief Scale, attitudes and pedagogical approaches to profile the religious identity options taken by members of Catholic Schools in Australia, Europe and the US.

In the second session we were given the time to think about making connections to our own schools – focusing on our students and staff in the context of the GSE Mission Framework. Session three concentrated on the practical applications of this research in our ministry. There was much discussion about what this affirms and confirms for our individual approach to leadership as well as looking at the opportunities and challenges this may present to us as leaders of Mission in our Colleges.

Audrey Brown delivered a very interesting and thought-provoking presentation about Catholic identity. Her experience, insights and good humour all contributing to an informative presentation for all of us in our diverse roles as leaders of Mission. The day finished with prayer with the community of sisters at Pennant Hills before gathering for dinner and casual conversation in the evening together.

Day Two began with Sr Meg Kahler leading discussion about a part of the Rule of St Benedict titled, ‘A School for the Lord’s Service (Prologue 45-50). We engaged in discussion about the importance of service in the Rule and the understanding of ‘schola’ in the 6th Century.

Pat O’Gorman – Director of Mission Integration for GSE facilitated the next session titled, ‘Doing Mission Together’. After briefly reviewing a chapter of Roger Schroeder’s book, ‘What is the Mission of the Church? A Guide for Catholics’, we discussed what Schroeder identified as six key aspects of mission and the relevance of this in our individual College communities.

Our final session led by Monica Dutton concluded our time away with an open forum and update on Mission Team Programs.

Thank you to Sr Meg Kahler and Monica Dutton for putting together an excellent conference program that was truly enriching and challenging. In our many diverse roles, as leaders of Mission, we were given time and space to reflect on our Catholic identity and to unite with old friends and colleagues who share in the Mission of our Good Samaritan Colleges.

Frances Vella
Head of Mission
St Scholastica’s College, Glebe