A new entity which will assume stewardship of seven Dominican schools located in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney has been unveiled.
The North Adelaide Dominican Sisters and the Sisters of Holy Cross Congregation (Cabra), together with the Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia, officially launched Dominican Education Australia (DEA) at a ceremony in Adelaide on August 12.
In a moving liturgy held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, the Sisters of the three congregations handed over to the Trustees of DEA the schools that have been in their care for nearly 150 years. They include Cabra Dominican College, St Dominic’s Priory College and St Mary’s College (Adelaide), Santa Sabina College, St Lucy’s School and the Catherine Sullivan Centre (Sydney) and Siena College (Melbourne).
The six founding Trustees of DEA are Sr Shirley Macklin OP (Dominican Sisters of North Adelaide), Paul Davis (Integroe Partners, Sydney), Eileen Young (currently Principal, St Mary’s College, Adelaide), Mary Jacquier (former Principal of Our Lady of La Vang School, Adelaide), Sr Julianna Drobik OP (Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia) and Sue Fabian (former Chair of the Board of Directors, Santa Sabina College), who is Chair of the Trustees.
A large group including current and former principals, leadership teams and board members of the three Adelaide colleges, representatives of Adelaide-based congregations of Religious as well as Dominican Sisters and school leaders from Sydney and Melbourne joined the Sisters for the celebration.
As the liturgy began, symbols of the life and work of St Dominic were carried in procession by student leaders, representatives of the three Adelaide colleges and the congregation leaders, Sr Judith Lawson (Eastern Australia),
Sr Noreen Reynolds (North Adelaide) and Sr Bernadette Kiley (Holy Cross Congregation).
As part of the commissioning of the Trustees, the congregation leaders passed the DEA candle to Ms Fabian who later addressed the gathering on behalf of the Trustees. For the final blessing, the congregation stood, raised their hands over the Trustees and blessed them, praying that there would be ‘light and energy’ for their journey.
Sr Bernadette Kiley said the singing of the combined choir of students from St Dominic’s, Cabra and St Mary’s helped to transform a conference room into a “beautiful and sacred space”.
“Light, prayer, music and ritual brought people together to mark the closing of a long chapter in Dominican history and to herald a new era in which the Dominican charism will be taken up and treasured by others who will express it in new and vigorous ways,” she said.
Similar launches of DEA were held in Sydney and Melbourne.