Archived News Item

Mercy Connection Recognised

On Friday 14th February Damascus College Ballarat recognised both its past and its future during the Opening Year Mass and the official opening, blessing and naming of its four newest buildings.

Having completed a $15 million upgrade which allowed the College to consolidate to one campus in Mt Clear, Damascus is now proud to be recognising past contributors to the College through the naming of these buildings. 

Bishop Paul Bird CSsR, the eighth Bishop of Ballarat, officially opened and blessed the first purpose built Chapel in the history of the College, named “Our Lady of Mercy Chapel”.

The naming of the Chapel recognises that each of us makes a commitment, before God, to live mercifully toward others. Our Lady of Mercy, Jesus’ mother and mother of all, offers God’s grace and mercy to all who call upon her maternal intercession. An icon of Our Lady of Mercy adorns the south wall of the new Chapel.

“We’re very proud of our new Chapel,” said Mr. Matthew Byrne, College Principal. “We’ve created a beautiful and contemporary space for quiet reflection and prayer which will be enjoyed by our whole school community”.  

Bishop Peter Connors, the retired seventh Bishop of Ballarat, opened and blessed the Bishop Connors Wing, a two-storey classroom building constructed in 2012, which offers eight modern learning spaces to the Year 9 and 10 students.

The naming of this building recognises the contribution made to Damascus College by the Catholic parishes of greater Ballarat, who allowed funds from the sale of the former Damascus junior campus on Victoria St, owned by the parishes, to be used for the construction of this new classroom wing. 

Fr. Adrian McInerney, one of the College’s governors, opened and blessed the Catherine McAuley Wing, the most recent of the College’s refurbishment projects which houses 14 new learning spaces for Year 7 and 8 students.

Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831 and in 1881 the Sisters of Mercy established Sacred Heart College in Ballarat East. In 1968 the senior students of SHC moved to a separate campus at Mt Clear – St Martin’s in the Pines. The amalgamation of Sacred Heart College, St. Martin’s and St Paul’s Technical College established Damascus College in 1995 and the Sisters of Mercy remain an integral part of the College today.

Sr Veronica Lawson, the College’s former co-governor, opened and blessed the Valda Ward Auditorium, a 150-seat performing arts auditorium as well as the Genevieve McDonald Science Wing.

Valda Ward and Genevieve McDonald were both Sisters of Mercy, previous Principals of St. Martins and played a significant role in the development of the performing arts and the sciences respectively.

“It is fitting that we acknowledge the contributions of the many people who have allowed Damascus College to grow and flourish into the school it is today”, said Mr. Byrne. “The names chosen recognise the significant history of the College so that current and future students understand the charisms on which the College was founded. Each of these people have been enormous contributors to education and have committed time, energy and resources to building an exceptional co-educational Catholic secondary school for the community of Ballarat”.   

Messages to:  Corrina Dischiera