Good Samaritan Education celebrates 10 Years

Good Samaritan Education celebrates 10 Years

By Moira Najdecki
Chair, Good Samaritan Education

In a year in which we celebrate 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia, I have reflected on the enormous contribution of the Good Samaritan Sisters to education. What a privilege it is to continue the work that began with the first Australian order of nuns in the 1850’s. I often reflect on the great diversity of that first group who ranged in age from 19 to 56 yrs old – all risk-takers and challengers, responding to the education and pastoral needs of the early colony. It was in that same spirit that, alive to the spirit of change, the Sisters invited laity to join them not just in the ministry of teaching, but in the mission of keeping alive the Good Samaritan  Benedictine tradition in education.

Thursday 22nd July 2021 marks the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the Statutes which brought Good Samaritan Education into being. It was a momentous occasion that resulted from many years of discussion, consultation and planning to establish an entity that would enable the 10 Australian Good Samaritan schools to continue to pursue their mission of providing a distinctive Catholic education.

This new ecclesial community was created with a governance structure that was collegial in nature; one that sought to provide direction and sustainability as Good Samaritan Education developed and flourished.  And flourish it has. The 10 fine schools that we have today are a testament to the work of the principals, staff, Boards and Members who, over the past 10 years, have led, supported, inspired and nurtured our ecclesial community to be the best it can possibly be.

To those Sisters and lay women and men who dreamt GSE into being we say thank you for your careful planning and guidance that gave us solid foundations. To the school communities who have embraced and progressed a Good Samaritan education in the Benedictine tradition, we say congratulations for building so well on the foundations bequeathed to you. To the students, the sole reason for our being, we say go forward as grounded, hope-filled young people who will lead wisely, listen deeply and treat your neighbours and your environment with justice, love and the compassion of Christ.


Enjoy more on the story of the becoming of Good Samaritan Education in the first episode of our new podcast series Communio Calling.

2021 – Year of Communio

by Pat O’Gorman

Year of Communio: through the lens of Compassion and Stewardship

Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ,
and may he brings us all together to everlasting life.
RB 72:11-12

Communio is a verb, not a noun.  It is not an ideal we must realise but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we participate.  All of creation exists in communion, in relation to each other and to God. “It is communion that makes things ‘be’; nothing exists without it, not even God.”[1]  

Everything takes place within the context of community which in our Benedictine tradition is often called a ‘school of communion.’[2]  This is the locus where we learn together with others how to seek God, how to be at heart a listening community, how to foster the common good and how to go out of ourselves to serve others.  Community is incarnated in “bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ep4:2b-3).”

The source of our unity as community is always Christ.  At the heart of Benedict’s spirituality is the presence of Christ through whom we come to know the liberating love of God and through whom we are able to share that love with others.[3] A Benedictine community exists to give witness to Christ and is about embracing a shared life and common vision that ensures there is a place for everyone.

Communio is the web of relationships which constitutes the actual life of Good Samaritan Education (GSE). It is radically relational and emphasises the mutual participation and the sharing of responsibility of all members for the shared mission of GSE.  Communio is the “compelling starting point to preserve unity and diversity in unity, affirm equal dignity of all members, and develop collaborative structures for ecclesial organisation and leadership.”[4]  The relational and dialogical character of authority and obedience is emphasised through communio and given expression through “practices of shared information, shared accountability, and shared governance.”[5] 

The very life of the community develops and forms its members and fosters communion. It shapes collegial identity and underpins our experience of being and doing together. Transformation and growth of each member is made possible within the context of community.

[1] John Zizioulas (1993):  Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church, p17

[2] Abbott Armand Veilleux OCSO (1996): ‘Benedictine Life as a School of Communion’

[3] Demetrius Dumm OSB (1996): ‘Cherish Christ Above All’, p44

[4] Michael L Hahn OSB (2017): Benedictine Communio: a Gift for the Church? The American Benedictine Review 68, p390

[5] ibid, p402

Benedict’s spirituality of community is based first of all on bondedness in Christ. Neither communities nor families exist for themselves alone. They exist to witness to Christ and in Christ. They exist to be a miracle worker to one another. They exist to make the world the family it is meant to be. Their purpose is to draw us always into the centre of life where values count and meaning matters more than our careers or our personal convenience.

Joan Chittister OSB
Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, p44