At St Vincent’s College, a strong grounding in social justice is instilled into every aspect of daily life.
Students have the opportunity to participate in a wide array of Social Justice initiatives and to take part in immersion and service learning programs.
Ignatian Spirituality calls for people to come to understand themselves and their place in their world through a process of Experience, Reflection and Action. As a College whose mission is formed in Ignatian spiritualty through the rich tradition of the Sisters of Charity, we take great pride in offering an array of Social Justice experiences and Immersions for students to engage in so that they may become the people God dreamt them to be. All of our service, immersion and advocacy programs offer participants opportunities to deepen their spirituality and strengthen their commitment to living their faith in ways that build a more just world.
There are two parts to Social Justice in our College: Outreach and Charity.
Throughout their time at the College, all students are expected to engage in Social Justice. Every student is provided the opportunity to engage in raising funds and awareness for a number of charitable organisations that the College is affiliated with. These opportunities are facilitated at House and Year levels. Students are expected to learn about the charity they support and become advocates for its cause. In this process students come to understand inequities and injustices that exist at a local, national and international level while developing their communication and leadership skills.
Experiences of Justice
The charities that we support at a whole College level are:
- Caritas Australia - Project Compassion
- St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal
- ALIVE Christmas Hampers
All students engage in awareness raising and fundraising at a House level through the House Charity program. These charities are aligned with the House Patrons and provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the mission and charism of the Sisters of Charity through advocacy, fundraising and service events. The charities that we support at a House level are:
As a woman of vision, Mother Mary Aikenhead dared to chase her dream of being a servant to the poor and disadvantaged. When she became disabled she continued her ministry by writing letters. This year, Aikenhead is connecting with the nursing homes.
Sr. Mary John Cahill endeavoured to ensure equitable access to education for all students. This year, Cahill is connected with the primary and special schools.
As an educator, Sr. Mary Lawrence Cater also endeavoured to ensure equitable access to education for all students. This year, Cater is connected with the indigenous community learning about their stories.
As a woman who flourished in providing health care to those in need, Sr. Baptist De Lacy spent much of her ministry improving access to health care in the local area. This year, De Lacy connected with St Vincent’s Hospital.
As a woman of service, Sr. de Sales O’Brien endeavoured to ensure all members of her community were cared and provided for. This year, O’Brien connected with the local community.
Sr. Francis Xavier Williams was a woman of mission who drew on Ignatian spirituality to make her strong. This year, Williams connected with the agencies and organizations that support refugees.
Project Compassion is an initiative of Caritas Australia and works with schools and parishes to provide resources to raise awareness and funds for developing world countries throughout Lent. Students in Year 10 are responsible for preparing and implementing fundraising and awareness-raising activities for the whole College community through their Tutor group.
Students are provided with training on how to raise awareness through advocacy and are given the opportunity to develop a program for teaching other students in their Tutor group about the national and international themes of Project Compassion. In conjunction with other Tutor groups in their House, students then plan an event to raise funds for Project Compassion.
Throughout the course of the 6-week program students develop:
- Communication skills
- Time management skills
- Initiative in planning and organising events
- Leadership skills
- The ability to support and encourage the interest of other students
St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal
The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation that aspires to live the gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice, hope and joy, and by working to shape a more just and compassionate society. The St Vincent de Paul Society aspires to be recognised as a caring Catholic charity offering “a hand up” to people in need. Students in Year 11 are charged with educating their Tutor group on the aims and mission of St Vincent de Paul Society through running and managing the College’s Vinnies Winter Appeal. Students do this by sharing stories of people in need and highlighting the need to respect people’s dignity. Students in Year 11 work with other Tutor groups in their House to plan and run a Winter Appeal.
A.L.I.V.E – Year 8 Outreach Activity
CatholicCare is the official social service agency of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Sydney. CatholicCare provides a range of services including family and relationship counselling; mediation and conciliation; services for children and young persons at risk of physical or emotional harm; employment services; training for people living with a disability; and respite services. The CatholicCare service that the College supports is called A.L.I.V.E. (Adolescents Living Independently Via Empowerment) and then raising awareness.
A.L.I.V.E. assists young people 15-25 years old who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, with brokerage monies, accommodation and support. The aim of the program is to empower young people to achieve independent living. The A.L.I.V.E. Community Housing Program offers medium-term affordable houses for young people who are on low income, at risk of homelessness and or are homeless and require support.
Year 8 students are charged with raising awareness about this charity and are responsible for coordinating the creation of a Christmas Hamper for a client of A.L.I.V.E. Members of Tutor groups are led by their Year 8 peers to:
- Think thoughtfully about what they will contribute to the Hamper
- Offer the contribution with generosity
- Pray for hope for the recipient of the Hamper