WILD winds whipped up by Cyclone Oma could not stop the blessing and official opening of Stage Two at McAuley College, Beaudesert.
Following an Acknowledgement of Country by Foundation Student Luke Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell of Brisbane led a celebration Mass for the more than 154 students across Years 7, 8 and 9 and staff.
They were joined by special guests including Sisters of Mercy Congregation Leader Sr Catherine Reuter and a number of her colleagues, Brisbane Catholic Education’s Director – Administrator Services Michael Kearney, State Member for Logan Linus Power and many parents for the official opening of the new buildings, which cost of more than $3.5 million.
McAuley College opened on the 25 January 2017 with 36 inaugural Year 7 students.
Stage 2 added five new classrooms, a learning hub and extension to staff facilities in the Catherine McAuley Administration Building.
As well, it included the beginning of the college’s Senior Hub, iLinC, which included two science laboratories, a drama and music room and three instrumental rooms.
During Mass Bishop Howell blessed some hand-crafted pottery “boots” which represented members of the community who had been involved in the dreaming, planning and building of the college, specifically Stage 2, as well as those who would benefit from the new buildings.
Foundation Principal Deidre Young said the special sculptures linked back to boots made by the Sisters of Mercy in their headquarters at Baggot St in Dublin, Ireland, and worn by the sisters as they walked through the city slums, hospitals and schools helping people who were destitute or suffering.
Mrs Young said the boots reminded the college community members to be people of action, like Jesus and Catherine McAuley.
Bishop Howell also blessed a number of Mercy crosses which were placed in each pastoral care classroom alongside the boots as the central symbols used in prayer by staff and students every morning.
Ms Young said the college was grateful to the many people who contributed their skills and expertise each day to complete the Stage 2 buildings.
It included Bertoldi Architects and builders, Herron Coorey, who along with the many other trades and work people, delivered quality work that would be of great benefit to many young people for years to come.
She also acknowledged the Sisters of Mercy and their founder Catherine McAuley, after whom the college was named.
“It was a privilege to acknowledge these women at our opening and blessing, given they founded quality Catholic education in the Scenic Rim; and it is on their legacy that we build our own story here at McAuley College.”
She said although the college was small in size it was huge in spirit.
“I am so proud of our community; our parents, our staff and our students,” she said.
“Because they are the reason we build – the reason we put on our boots each day and strive for excellence.”
Following Mass Mr Power, representing State Minister for Education Grace Grace, joined Bishop Howell to unveil a plaque thanking the state government for their contribution of $2.9 million towards the Stage Two project.