Faith News

This week saw the unveiling of a wonderful new sculpture of Mother Sebastian and Mother Bernard Whyte outside the building named after them … the Whyte senior Learning Centre. This is part of the reflection and an imagined dialogue read when the sculpture was unveiled for the students …

Stories can shape our lives:

The ‘remember when’ story can hold us together as family, as friends, as a community and as a nation. It is in their retelling that we make deeper sense and connection to events and experiences

Stories keep memories alive.

Today we unveil our sculpture that honours our Mercy tradition and in particular Mother Sebastian Whyte and Mother Bernard Whyte in whose memory this Whyte senior learning centre is named. 

It tells of a story….  A story that began in Ireland with Catherine McCauley just over 190 years ago, a  story that continued in Australia with Ursula Frayne some 173 years ago, a story that continued here in Mornington 121 years ago.  A story of “sisters and kindred spirits”

Mother Sebastian Whyte and her sibling Mother Bernard Whyte were Mercy Sisters. They shared not only a family connection but also a great faith and vision. They laid the foundation of Padua College as we know it today.

 

Imagined Dialogue between the sisters …

MOTHER SEBASTIAN:

I remember the day well, that April day in 1898!

With Sr Malachi, one of my dearest friends, we set out to search for a new convent where our sisters could rest at times amidst their hectic lives.

On that day we found our property in Mornington … a convent by the sea … a place to build a dream.

It was soon after that my sister, Mother Bernard, joined in the dream.

 

MOTHER BERNARD:

And I remember so well that dream you explained to me when I arrived.

You had found this place of respite, a holiday house to help restore the wellbeing of our sisters who work tirelessly in Melbourne to care for and educate the homeless, the poor and needy.

But here too, in Mornington, you had discovered a great need awaiting us … a school for the children of this region of Mornington.

 

MOTHER SEBASTIAN:

Our dream was blessed by Archbishop Goold, and this property of Shelbourne Park gave us our new beginning in Mornington.

A new community…. Such joy and hope…..

We have walked in the steps of Mother Catherine McAuley and Mother Ursula Frayne. Their spirit, God’s work, would live on in our dream.

And who better to take on this challenge than my own dear sister, as the first principal of the school, the school which was to become Padua College.

 

BERNARD:

I was so humbled by your trust in me, but with God’s grace and inspired by your vision, I accepted the invitation to take up this challenge – a challenge that continues to encourage us all to develop fully our own God given talents, and to stir within us the desire to always assist those in need.

Compassion, justice, respect, hospitality, service and courage.

May these values glow deep within us and in all those after us.

 

SEBASTAN AND BERNARD:

May we hold in our hearts the words of Mother Catherine –

We should be shining lamps, giving light to all around us.

Michael Harrison
Deputy Principal: Mission & Community