Ritual Handover of OLMC from Sisters of Mercy Parramatta to Mercy Partners
At a special ceremony held at the College last Sunday, the process of transferring the Canonical Sponsorship Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta from the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta to Mercy Partners, was completed. The event was attended by Sisters of Mercy, current College Board Members, staff and students, and members of the Mercy Partners Stewards, Council and Executive, and it followed six months after the official signing of documents on 18 October, 2021.
The Ritual marked a very important milestone in the College’s long, rich history. Since establishing the College in 1889, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta have provided oversight and guidance as Canonical Sponsors. I would like to share with you below a reflection on the ritual from Sister Mary-Louise Petro, Congregation Leader of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta.
There were many emotions experienced on the day of the Transfer ceremony. There was a sense of anticipation for a vibrant new life for the future of Our Lady of Mercy College and pride that after 133 years of Mercy education we had a College ready and able to fly in new and unknown ways. There were tinges of sadness as the mothering Congregation was taking a step back from such a precious and long-standing ministry.
Some of the most memorable and touching moments of the day were the cleansing ceremony conducted by Darug women, Shanaya Donavan and Aunty Julie Webb. Their beautiful movements re-instated the Darug heritage and paved the way for this new journey of OLMC. To sit with Catherine McAuley, sense her presence, hear our Mercy story and feel the thread of Catherine’s dream woven with ours over the years was a powerful reminder of the strength of charism. A very poignant moment came with the reflection by student, Katherine Baker, who brought tears to many eyes with her deep appreciation of her Mercy education, her commitment to the Mercy values and assurance that the Sisters would not be forgotten.
The ceremony brought together the journey undertaken by the Congregation and OLMC to ensure that the College would flourish into the future. Mercy Partners fulfilled all our desired criteria and the ceremony reflected the good-will, commitment and strong governance that we desired. OLMC has found a home within the Mercy family where it can continue to educate young women where its values will be upheld and strengthened, its Board and staff supported and affirmed and where Mercy will continue to shine its light into the world. I know that the Sisters of Mercy will continue to be an integral part of the college through strong relationships and caring friendships.
Mary-Louise Petro RSM