Archived News Item

Links With Our Mercy Heritage

Thursday 18 September dawned a bright, sunny Spring Day for a special event at Holy Cross College at Ellenbrook, a newly developing area close to the Swan Valley in Western Australia.  On that day Holy Cross College held the Blessing and Official Opening of the Early Learning Centre, Secondary Learning Centre and extension to the Administration building.   The  project, worth more than $12 million dollars, has resulted in state of the art facilities designed for contemporary learning. The buildings were blessed by Monsignor Michael Keating and Officially Opened by Dr Tony Curry, Director School Improvement.

From the presentations by the Principal, Mandy Connor, and students it became clear that the theme of JOURNEYING in Faith was uppermost in the minds of this school community.  Mandy said  ‘The naming of the buildings can make an important statement about what we value and that a sense of place associated with each of the College patrons would allow wonderful opportunities for the telling of our faith story’.   

The College name was chosen in 2010, the year of the Holy Cross.  This had links to the first Convent school in Western Australia at Victoria Square, Perth – Holy Cross Convent.  The Sisters of Mercy arrived in the new colony of Western Australia in 1846 and immediately opened a school on a side verandah of the first Church using packing cases for desks and whatever other resources they could muster.    

The naming of each of the Houses emerged from the Mission Statement of the College.  Prior to the construction of each of the Learning Centres the College invited representatives from various Religious Orders to come out to the School and talk to the students and staff about how their Order had influenced education in Western Australia.  

Oscar Romero
was chosen as the patron of the Administration Building which is called after the place where he was born and served 25 years of his priestly ministry,
Santiago de Maria.

Frayne House encompasses the values of Dignity and Personal Best and is named after Ursula Frayne, the leader of the first group of Sisters of Mercy to arrive in Australia. The lower level of this new Learning Centre is named Dublin after the place where she was born.  The upper level is called Victoria Square remembering the place where the first Catholic School was established in Perth by the Sisters of Mercy.

McCormack House encompasses values of Justice and Service and the upper level of Learning Centre 1 is named Huasahuasi after the village in the Andes Mountains where Sr Irene McCormack, a Josephite Sister, was martyred by Shining Path guerrillas.

Ozanam House encompasses values of Compassion and Connection.  Two new sections are named Lyon and Paris after places where Frederic Ozanam grew up and studied Law and where he started his work with the poor which grew to the worldwide organisation  of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Salvado House encompasses values of Gratitude and Stewardship and the new Early Learning Centre is called Tui after the town in Spain where Bishop Rosendo Salvado was born 200 years ago this year.  Santiago de Compostella is another place name of a Learning Centre.  The Benedictine Order arrived in the Colony at the same time as the Sisters of Mercy in 1846 and later made a long trek north to set up their monastery at New Norcia.   The teachers and students have made pilgrimage walks on the Camino Campostella in Spain and Camino New Norcia and this must greatly enhance their sense of ‘place’, heritage and Mission in their journey of Faith. With the naming of the buildings they will now have a pilgrimage route around the College along which students and staff can journey with a purpose- to honour God in embracing life to the full.

Messages to: Pauline Masters rsm

Top – Blessing of the College
Bottom – Sisters outside Frayne House – Victoria Street level