Home' Aurora : Aurora February 2013 Contents The Catholic Schools Office (CSO) for
the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
services 55 Catholic schools and
supports close to 2000 staff and 18,000
students. Catholic schooling has been
a part of the region for over 180 years
and the new look website, operational
since late last year, is a testament to the
work and achievements of local Catholic
schools. The CSO recognises that the
care and education of students is a
great responsibility. The CSO, schools
and parents embrace this and work
together to nurture students and give
them opportunities to learn and grow as
individuals. Through Catholic schooling,
children learn about and live out the
message of Jesus and the gospels.
This will be evident as you browse the
website, www.mn.catholic.edu.au and
access information and photo galleries
on each of the schools in the diocese.
The website contains information for
parents on the benefits of Catholic
education, tips to help your child
at different stages of schooling,
resources from the Parents and Friends
Association and enrolment advice.
There is also information regarding
current syllabus documents, with
Religious Education at the core of
the curriculum. An overview of the
social justice programs which are an
integral part of Catholic schools can
be viewed in the Student Quicklinks.
This section also showcases the talents
and achievements of students and staff
through artistic, sporting and academic
Navigating this site is very easy with
policy documents, the CSO annual
report and the three year strategic plan
for Catholic schools readily available
for viewing. There are useful links to
the Board of Studies, MySchool and
ACARA websites for curriculum matters
which can be used by parents, teachers
The focus of the Catholic Schools
Office is to provide "service to school,
leadership in learning and justice for all".
The Director's Welcome message from
Mr Ray Collins certainly reinforces this
and encourages the collaboration of
parents, teachers and students within
Catholic schools. So now that the new
school year is underway, why not take
a look at the Catholics Schools Office
website and see what makes Catholic
schools places of excellence and faith?
I was frustrated. It claimed to be "a
reader's guide to life". The author, a
professional reader, promised me, her
reader, a guide to life based on the
books she has read? Alas, no guide to
What is here is an interesting personal
history of encounters with books from
pre-reading age through to professional
task reading. I was reminded of
many books which were part of my
development also. I found content
summaries helpful. I was stimulated by
some of the questions she posed: What
is the right time in life to read a particular
book? How do we sift through the vast
offerings? How do you tell a trustworthy
guide? There was, however, no analysis
to provide answers.
As a teenager Ramona Koval had read
and accepted the idealised lives of De
Beauvoir and Sartre. As an adult she
discovered "the lies and jealousies and
unhappiness that the couple never
admitted". Here is an opening for
beneficial investigation. But there is none.
Some small gems glitter occasionally:
"beauty is the guide to what is true" from
Matthew Penrose, mathematician; being
"immersed in reading both the work
and the mind that had made it". Again,
however, no satisfying development.
Frequent mentions are made of her
"bewildering" childhood in a family "riven
with fault lines". Her parents "were two
needy souls with nothing but sadness to
give to one another". Rather than seek
answers from her secretive mother who
"acted a part to save her life", or from
a distant father who deserted his wife
in her final illness for another woman.
Ramona found, "it was better to read
and imagine", to be transported "from
our own prosaic lives to anywhere we
care to imagine".
Ramona declares her fascination with the
great adventure stories, especially those
that depict the courage, resourcefulness
and perseverance of Antarctic
exploration. My own attraction has been
to accounts of courageous persevering
in personal epics of self discovery. I
have found traversing the terrain within
Thomas Merton, or Edith Stein, or Etty
Hillesum more exhilarating and beneficial
than any outer adventures.
I felt as I read that the author's true
Antarctic lies within; a hazardous,
precipitous terrain vaguely mentioned
in this book but calling for courageous
exploration. This would, I do not doubt,
be a more gripping adventure, and more
of a guide to life (in the sense of sharing)
than the present offering.
BY MICHAEL O'CONNOR
BY MARGARET WALKER
By the book:
guide to life
Aurora on tour
At the beginning of a new year...
Can we count our blessings?
Can we acknowledge good deeds?
Can we hear the kind words?
Can we see our gains?
Can we thank our friends?
Can we be grateful for our new insights?
Can we smile at the joyful sounds?
Can we admit our disappointments?
Can we count our courage?
Can we still say yes to life?
COMPILED BY SR LOUISE GANNON RSJ
If you have a photograph
that you would like to be
considered for Aurora,
please ensure it is high
Aurora was spotted
being read in Paris,
not far from Notre
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
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