Faith – Feast Day

“I had time to be much amused” (Mary MacKillop, 1873)

What a delight it was, to return to celebrating JJAMM Week and Feast Day together on site! While we did our best in the past two years to keep our Founders front of mind, there is no substitute for gathering in community to celebrate together. The spirituality of Mary MacKillop was at the heart of our celebrations, and hers was a spirituality that embraced the joys of life. Our JJAMM Week celebrations were all about joy, while responding to the needs of our local Josephite community.

Day 1 highlighted the eco-spirituality of Julian Tenison Woods. As well as being a Roman Catholic priest and spiritual advisor for Mary MacKillop, Julian was an accomplished scientist with a passion for botany. He could be considered ahead of his time, but his vision is being realised today as we know the importance of caring for our earth as an integral part of our faith. The MSJ Earth Team took the lead on Day 1, and our Sustainability Leader Zoha Talpur has prepared a report for this newsletter.

Day 2 shifted the focus to St Joseph and the narrative of Joseph the refugee, who took great risk to protect the safety of his family. The precarious existence of the Holy Family in the infancy of Jesus reminds us of the vulnerability inherent in the human condition and our call to care for the marginalised. To engage the community in this issue we encouraged students to sign a postcard calling for the new federal government to reconsider Australia’s asylum seeker policies and abolish offshore processing. We garnered 1000 signatures and will be delivering the postcards to the office of Hon. Clare O’Neil, Federal Minister for Home Affairs. Our Social Justice Leader Jasmine Maharaj has prepared a report for this newsletter.

Day 3 began our 3-day celebrations of Mary MacKillop and our starting point was her extraordinary network of support across Australia’s society which even in its fledgling years held a diversity of faiths and cultures. Our lunchtime inter-faith panel featuring staff and students demonstrated the ways in which people’s personal stories are welcomed and honoured in our community. Our Ministry Leader Sarah Price has prepared a report for this newsletter.

Day 4 saw the return of the traditional JJAMM-donut eating competition and began the spirit of fun which lasted through to the end of Day 5 - Feast Day. Our Feast Day celebrations began with a beautiful mass attended by several Sisters of St Joseph and members of the College Board. It was a wonderful community celebration of Eucharist and concluded with a guest presentation from Amanda Robertson, National Ethos and Culture Leader with MacKillop Family Services. Amanda delivered an uplifting address, highlighting how the vision of Mary MacKillop to animate the mission of God among the most vulnerable families in Australia continues today. It was a challenge to all our students to consider how they too, in their own lives, can contribute to that mission.

After mass the Feast Day celebrations continued with a fair and the annual MSJ’s Got Talent. It was a time to relax and enjoy being in each other’s company while raising vital funds for Joseph’s Corner. We are thrilled to announce that, thanks to the generosity of MSJ families, we have raised a little over $7000 for Joseph’s Corner to support their counselling services for families affected by addiction.

Heartfelt thanks to the MSJ Community for your support of our JJAMM Week and Feast Day Celebrations. May the vibrant community spirit last throughout the remainder of 2022.

Andrea Grant - Director of Catholic Identity


From 8-12 August, our school community celebrated JJAMM Week. JJAMM Week stands for Julian Tenison Woods, Joseph, and Mary MacKillop. The week itself is a time for Josephite school communities to celebrate their Josephite history, as well as Mary MacKillop's Feast Day (8 August). Throughout the week, we ran various activities linking into our school history and the values that our school's patrons portray.

Starting off the week with a bang, Monday celebrated Father Julian Tenison Woods, a priest who helped found the first Josephite school alongside Mary MacKillop. With a specific focus on his work for the environment, lights and heaters were turned off for the day and students were able to dress warmly in casual clothes.

On Tuesday, we celebrated Joseph, the partner of the Virgin Mary and, colloquially speaking, the "step-father of Jesus Christ". We decided to honour his story through advocating for off-shore processing for refugees trying to access safety within Australia. Students were encouraged to write or sign postcards, which were sent to Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil.

On Wednesday, we decided to host an activity that highlighted the faith diversity of our school. We had an array of faith beliefs in the panel, with Nidaa Saoud and Zoha Talpur sharing their Islamic faith experience, Isabella Fiumara and Amelia Vivera sharing their Catholic faith experience, and Vedangi Khanna and Samyukktha Pramodh Kutty sharing their Hindu faith experience. The panel shared the core principles of each of their faith beliefs, as well as how their faith impacts their day-to-day life. Our audience listened keenly as panel members spoke about prejudices and misconceptions associated with each of their faith beliefs and discussions about faith diversity and inclusivity were raised within the group of people who attended the panel. Thank you to Nidaa Saoud, Zoha Talpur, Isabella Fiumara, Amelia Vivera, Vedangi Khanna and Samyukktha Pramodh Kutty, for volunteering to share their faith perspective. Through sharing your experiences and beliefs, you have given others an opportunity to learn and reflect on the beliefs of others, in the process enriching our community with new ideas and perspectives. We are so grateful for your openness to speak.

And, of course, you cannot celebrate JJAMM Week without jam, which is why on Thursday we celebrated with a jam donut eating contest. Six students from each level went head-to-head as they raced to consume an entire jam donut without using any utensils or hands. A teachers round was also held, with Mr Meilak narrowly keeping his title of MSJ’s Donut Eating Champion.

On Friday, we celebrated the long-awaited Feast Day. The day started with a morning Mass, to allow us to put into perspective what the rest of the day is truly about. After Mass, the fete part of Feast Day started with a lively carnival atmosphere. There were a variety of rides, a petting zoo, as well as various student-run stalls. Funds from this part of the day go towards Joseph's Corner, a non-for-profit organisation that provides counselling and support for families and friends of those living with alcohol or drug addiction. To finish the day, students gathered to watch MSJ’s Got Talent. There were six strong performances from talented students in our school. Congratulations to Sarah Muyunga for coming in first place.

Overall, it was a week JJAMM packed (yes, the pun is intended) with joyful celebrations and reflection of our impact as a Josephite community. Thank you to all who volunteered and supported the celebrations with their behind-the-scenes work. A special thanks to Mrs Grant, Mr McNulty, Mr Herrera, Mr Robinson and Ms Steward for helping to organise the week and its activities.

Sarah Price, Ministry Leader & Jasmine Maharaj, Social Justice Leader