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Sacred Heart Girls’ College Oakleigh and RNDM Sisters in Melbourne celebrated their anniversaries of foundation at a College assembly on the feast of the Visitation: The 160th of the Congregation and 65 years since the College was opened.
It was a surprise when Sr Madeleine entered the stage to sounds of ABBA’s song: ‘I have a dream, a song to sing, I believe in angels, something good in everything I see…..’
Beginning with the importance of having a dream and your song to sing, ABBA’s song became the theme of the presentation. It started with the dream of Mary of Nazareth as she set out to visit Elizabeth in their shared time of need – with the song of the promise of pregnancies uppermost in their hearts.
The same song introduced a very enthusiastic Euphrasie Barbier to the stage, dressed in our original habit. She smiled and waved to the audience calling out Bonjour as she began to tell us of her dream to go out on mission to far away countries bringing hope especially to disadvantaged women, and leading to the foundation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions.
Next came Sr Mary St Theophane, the first principal of the College dancing in to the song. She too was dressed in the original habit. She met Euphrasie for the first time on earth and they joined together dancing a few steps to ABBA’s song. Sr Theophane then addressed the girls and spoke of her dream to build a beautiful Secondary College where girls could flourish and have an education that enabled them to dream big and to be able to live their dream. She spoke of how wonderful it was to see how that dream had flourished.
Finally, each RNDM Sister was presented to the College. As we were named, a picture of us and a short summary of our lived mission was displayed on power point. We were then escorted one by one to the stage by a year 7 student dressed in some parts of the original College uniform. In some way it enacted the passing down of the dream of Euphrasie from one generation to the next.
The last five Sisters to come on to the stage had been pupils at the College on the day of the first Assembly led by Sr Theophane in February 1957: Shelley Barlow, Mary McInerney, Catherine Brabender, Patricia Keogh and Madeleine Barlow.
The grand finale came when together, the RNDMs, Euphrasie, Sr Theophane and all the students in the hall joined in dance and song as ABBA’s music rang out: ‘I have a dream, a song to sing’.
PS: Those of us who knew Sr Theophane when we were pupils at the College were sure that she would not have approved of all the staff and Sisters all singing and dancing in front of all the students! Would she have joined in? Perhaps. If she had caught the joy in the hall and if she could have imagined Euphrasie leading the way!
As part of the celebrations there is also a fundraiser which includes a walkathon raising funds for their partnership with the Menubo girls of Kulaman in The Philippines.