HUNDREDS of secondary school staff have spread around the globe to mark the centenary of one of the first Good Samaritan high schools in Brisbane.
More than 150 staff members from Lourdes Hill College, Hawthorne, embarked on international, national and local pilgrimages to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school community.
Lourdes Hill College, named after the famous site of the Marian apparition before the young St Bernadette, opened in 1916 under the direction of the Good Samaritan Sisters, the first women religious order founded in Australia.
Deputy principal and head of the school Terry Niebling said pilgrimages were organised to remind the staff of the college’s spiritual foundations.
Pilgrimages included the Footsteps of St Benedict in Italy, East Coast Abbeys between Victoria and New South Wales, a Reconciliation Pilgrimage with the college’s Aboriginal elder in residence Aunty Joan Hendriks, Uluru, the Camino Salvado in Perth and St Stephen’s Cathedral.
“The bottom line in building a relationship around that spiritual dimension is the focus of the school,” Mr Niebling said.
“Well, we always have at this time of year a time of spiritual reflection because that’s crucial for our school, and being a centenary this year we wanted to make it a more significant time with the greater variety of opportunity and opportunities well outside the precinct of Lourdes Hill.
“This time of pilgrimage has been designed to enhance that development of the staff.”
Middle school deputy principal Nicole Caulfield attended the pilgrimage between Lourdes Hill College and St Stephen’s Cathedral to walk through the Door of Mercy.
Ms Caulfield said the pilgrimage was an opportunity to step away from the busy work day and connect with God and other staff.
“Being in a spiritual place and being able to have that time to show gratitude and reflect but it’s also that opportunity… for us as a group (of) reconnecting with each other,” she said.
“Because when you’re in the work place and they can be busy days when you’re doing your job, but to connect with each other has been a real bonus.” The pilgrimage group to St Stephen’s Cathedral ended the journey with Mass.
“Then we’ll get back to work in a spiritually-enriched frame of mind,” Mr Niebling said.
By Emilie Ng