This week of the year traditionally marks the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul. For this reason, Saint Peter’s College always celebrates at this time with a Feast Day Mass during which we reflect on the importance of St Peter’s College to our local Catholic community. It is fitting that we also remember the anniversary of the death of Antonio Rosmini, founder of the Rosminian order, which occurs on the 1st July. This year we were fortunate to have Fr Hamesh Wyatt, student of St Peter’s from 1979 – 1985, celebrate Mass for us. Fr Hamesh reflected on the unique culture that the Rosminian priests and brothers brought to our college and he shared many of his memories with our students.
I was privileged in 2012 to experience the unique culture of the Rosminian Order myself. I had the opportunity to attend the ‘Rosminian Gathering’ at Calvario in Northern Italy where I stayed in the same monastery where Antonio Rosmini had lived for many years. Rosmini came from a very wealthy and influential family whose crest bore the six stars we now proudly have in our school crest. Instead of continuing with his family’s business interests, Rosmini chose to serve God for the rest of his life and established the Institute of Charity which we know as the Rosminian Order. He was also a political figure who was not afraid to speak his mind. Antonio Rosmini was a great philosopher which was very evident when I visited the libraries of books which Rosmini had written and then rewritten in a number of other languages. His philosophical work centred upon the notion of being and the dignity of the human person which, along with a love of critical thinking, philosophy and commitment to education, was passed down through the Order and was certainly evident in the Rosminian priests and brothers who found themselves handed the task of establishing a secondary school in Gore - the first Catholic co-ed boarding school in Australasia – miles away from their homeland in England. Many ex-pupils speak of the richness of their education at St Peter’s College under the tutelage of the Rosminians and, as a staff, we are conscious of the responsibility we have to continue this richness for our students today.
On Thursday morning, our staff shared a ‘Founder’s Day’ breakfast with five women from the Catholic Women’s League who spoke to us about the planning, fundraising and establishment of St Peter’s College. It is important for us to remember the huge commitment by the Catholic families of the wider Gore Parish to raise the money to buy the land and build our school during the 1960s. To Margaret Wilson, Noeline Nicholson, Elaine Kelly, Joan Duncan and Anne Welsh – thank you for sharing your memories with us and, along with so many others, for establishing and contributing to our school during the last fifty years. We understand the importance of capturing these stories and memories and the Foundation page of our school website now has many of these stories recorded. Please take the time to read these as we head towards the 50th Anniversary of the College in 2019.
This week the whole school took part in the Eisteddfod, another tradition we continue from the early days of the College. Again this year, we were treated to a wonderful display of talent during auditions and we eagerly look forward to the final concert at the St James Theatre next Thursday evening. Thank you to all the parents who helped their children prepare so thoroughly for their item. The judges were very impressed with the quality of the performances.
During the holidays, the 10A Netball team travel to Christchurch to take part in the South Island Secondary Schools’ Junior Netball Tournament, and we farewell some of our senior rugby players on Wednesday as they fly to Toronto for the start of their North American rugby tour. We wish you all the best for safe travels and success in these sporting endeavours.
On Monday, the school community will formally farewell Ms Kate Leebody at our assembly. Kate has been an integral part of St Peter’s College for 36 years and her wonderful personality and commitment to our school and students will not be forgotten in a hurry. Check next week’s newsletter for a walk down memory lane!