Our Catholic Tradition
The commitment at OLMC to educating girls in faith and mission is grounded not only in the College’s Catholic identity and tradition, but also in the belief that a student’s spiritual journey and values are important in negotiating the emotional and social challenges that arise in the adolescent years.
OLMC students are assisted to grow in relationship with God, develop a relevant and life-affirming spirituality, and recognise a purpose in life and hope for their futures. Such aspirations are realised not just through Religious Education (RE) programs but in experiences that students have in all areas of College life.
Ms Kate Garrone, Coordinator of Faith and Mission, oversees all aspects of our vision and programs for Mission, Faith and Religious Education.
Religious Education Curriculum
Religious Education is a compulsory subject at OLMC for Years 7–10 students, with the curriculum structured around five content strands:
- The Scriptures
- The beliefs and practices of the Catholic tradition
- Catholic social and moral teachings
- Justice issues
- Other religions.
The curriculum is taught by teachers who have the necessary accreditation to teach RE and is delivered in accordance with program guidelines issued by the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The RE curriculum endeavours to be:
- Intellectually and morally challenging, in accordance with students’ ages and levels of maturity
- Supportive of students in relating questions and issues of faith to real-life situations and experiences
- Respectful of parents as the prime educators of their daughter’s faith formation.
Students in Year 11 and 12 will continue to study Religious Education and have access to 2 VCE studies – Religion and Society (incorporating an accompanying unit on ‘Ethics’) and Texts and Traditions. The curriculum is developed in accordance with guidelines of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
As a Catholic school in the Mercy tradition, OLMC’s Religious Education curriculum is also informed and illuminated by the Mercy story and by the College’s mission, vision and values. Teaching and learning give special emphasis to the values of Justice, Compassion, Courage and Joy. A key objective is to ‘empower girls to become women of courage who will creatively participate in realising God’s vision of mercy and justice for all’.
Retreats, Liturgy and Meditation
At all year levels, students at OLMC have daily experience of prayer, both as participants and as facilitators of group/class liturgies. Senior students participate in reflection days or retreat programs and in at least two Eucharistic liturgies throughout the year.
The College is proud of its Meditation Program, which is a core component of the RE curriculum across all year levels. The majority of staff teaching RE are trained to effectively engage students in meditation practices. We believe that the Meditation Program is not only enriching students’ prayer experiences but is contributing to reduced anxiety, stress and frenetic activity within and amongst students.
Over several years the College has been developing and extending its ‘reflective spaces’ in various areas of the campus. These places of quiet contemplation are assisting students in their meditation practices and encouraging an appreciation for
Social Justice and Outreach
Students and staff are provided with many opportunities to experience social justice and compassion through involvement in local community-based outreach initiatives such as the Broadmeadows Detention Centre, the St Pius Parish Reading Club, the Exodus Community in the Heidelberg/Olympic Village public housing estate, and the Bell Bardia Community Meal Project, also at Olympic Village.
More widely, staff and senior students are volunteers with the Collingwood Soup Van and Ozanam House. There is whole-school involvement in Anti-Poverty Week and Reconciliation Week, as well as fundraising for Caritas Project Compassion.
At OLMC, social action and fundraising are practical expressions of our concern for local and global social justice issues. As a Catholic school, our fundraising and acts of solidarity are grounded in the life and teachings of Jesus, the values of the Gospel, the principles of Catholic social teaching and the College values of justice, compassion, justice and joy. As a Mercy school, we give particular emphasis to Mercy in action and assign high priority to projects that are sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy here in Australia and overseas.
Faith and Mission Immersion Experiences
Immersions are valuable educational experiences that give expression to the College’s mission, vision and values. Currently, there are six programs available to students.
- Yingadi. The immersion takes students to the Lake Mungo National Park and to south west New South Wales to explore traditional Aboriginal spirituality and issues in contemporary Indigenous communities. In 2019, the program will be offered to students in Years 9–11, in both May and August.
- South African Immersion. In this immersion we partner with Mercy schools and Catholic community-based organisations to develop intercultural understandings and awareness of local and global structures that both disadvantage and empower people. The program is offered every second year and is open to students from Years 10 and 11.
- Mercy Ambassadors Program. This is a four-week experience for a small number of students from St Teresa’s College, Johannesburg. The aim is to provide our visiting students with an insight into key justice issues in our local context and how our OLMC students are responding. Families with students in Years 10 and 11 are invited to host a St Teresa’s student.
- Seeds of Justice. Mercy schools from across Victoria bring together students around key contemporary justice issues to build their knowledge, understanding and capacity for action. It is a two-day program held twice a year. Five OLMC students from Years 10–12 attend this program.
- Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage. Students from all over the world travel to the homeland of Catherine McAuley and join with like-minded young people who have a commitment to the Mercy spirit and to living out Mercy values in their lives. Two Year 11 student delegates from OLMC are partially supported to attend this formation program, which is held bi-annually.
- AMSSA Student Conference. The Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association (AMSSA) gathers students from Mercy schools across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea for a bi-annual conference. Two student delegates from Years 10 or 11 represent OLMC and have the opportunity to explore how the lens and charism of Mercy moves into action in contemporary society.