St Michael’s College, Carrara, unveiled the six pillars of its newly-developed charism around the Archangel Michael at the annual foundation day Mass on June 3.
Principal Michael Laidler said the 25-year-old school was the first Brisbane Catholic Education archdiocesan secondary school built and while the college had a wonderful spirituality it did not have a dedicated charism.
He said the six “pillars” of St Michael unveiled during the Foundation Day had taken almost 12 months to develop.
“We had a staff development day on charisms in July last year and then we went to the kids and asked them about who and what they thought St Michael was,” he said.
“They came up with things like he was a protector of the Church so we then asked them to think of the way his protection could be applied to modern day.”
Mr Laidler said eventually students came up with 32 words about St Michael that were narrowed down to six pillars of St Michael that form the new charism.
“We formed a charism committee that was made up of the school captains and interested staff to determine how we would then develop those six pillars and what they would stand for,” he said.
He said the pillars Protection, Respect, Dedication, Justice, Courage and Integrity would guide the school and students into the future.
Mr Laidler said six pillars were chosen so students could concentrate on one pillar each year during their secondary education.
“If we get (Year 7) we wanted a pillar for each year so when the kids have been through the school they will have looked at each of those pillars,” he said.
He said of prime importance during the development of the charism was the need to make it user-friendly for students.
“We made sure we put them into really contemporary words for the kids – what is it for us – so for example when you look at ‘protect’ we include a catch phrase as to what it (the pillar) really means to us and then we say therefore we aim to do this,” he said.
“So if we take ‘protection’ we provide a safe environment for all, therefore we aim to build healthy relationships, include everyone, care for one another and our environment, support the weak and we actually also put the strong in there for the kids who stand up for other kids, the marginalised and those in need.”
Mr Laidler said the college would concentrate on such values next year when it introduced the first pillar of the charism.
“We are going to tie everything into it, when we pick our leaders, all of our curriculum and our religious education curriculum will refer back to it,” he said.
“Our behaviour management program will have to be written with the charism in mind.”
Mr Laidler said St Michael’s College was proud of the development of the charism.
“It is going to be called the Charism of St Michael and we’ve never heard of anyone doing this before so we are pretty excited about it,” he said.
St Michael’s school captains Elise Bagley and Joseph Frawley said they were excited by the development.
“I think it was really important for our school especially because we didn’t have a charism in place before,” Elise said.
“(It was important to think about) why it was important that our school’s called St Michael’s, because I never really understood why and who St Michael was.”
Joseph said it had been good be able to contribute to the development of the charism.
“I had a bit of an understanding of who St Michael was before the charism, but the stuff we did learn about what he stood for and what he did, a lot of it I didn’t know and it was an eye opener,” he said.
Both said the development of the charism would deepen the faith of students particularly in younger classes.