Executive Director's Message - 16 October 2020


​​​​BCE Executive Director Pam Betts

AS this second week of Term 4 concludes, my thoughts are very much with our Year 12s as they prepare for exams.

This cohort of students has certainly lived through an era of change in their young lives – they were our first Prep intake, the first Year 7s to make the move into secondary school and will now be the first to go through the new ATAR system.  While we knew about and planned for these challenges, we could never have imagined their final year of school would have been disrupted by a global pandemic.

The graduates of 2020 are indeed a very special cohort and I wish them, and their teachers, all the very best in these weeks before final exams commence.

As the graduates of 2020 you will be the most resilient of us all!

10th anniversary of Mary MacKillop’s canonisation

I usually send this message on a Monday. This change in routine is to acknowledge that tomorrow, 17 October 2020, will mark the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop – our first Australian Saint.

The Sisters have chosen one of Mary’s quotes from 1877 Take fresh courage… to mark this milestone in the Congregation’s story.

Mary MacKillop continues to inspire us every day as we go about our work in our Catholic schools and we recall with gratitude the contribution that the Sisters of St Joseph have made to Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane over the past 150 years.

More information and resources for the 10th Anniversary of Mary MacKillop’s Canonisation are available here.

Celebrating our teachers and new schools

With the easing of restrictions, I am happy to again be able to participate in school events, albeit with restricted numbers.

Next Friday our newest school, St Ann’s at Redbank Plains, which opened in a year we won’t forget, will be officially blessed and opened by Archbishop Coleridge. I am looking forward to joining Archbishop Mark, Principal Sonny Smith and the St Ann’s community for this celebration. I know you join with me in offering our best wishes to the St Ann’s community.

Later this month, I will also attend, with Bishop Ken Howell, the Blessing of the Site at our two new schools to open in 2021 – San Damiano College at Yarrabilba and Sophia College, Plainland. It is wonderful to witness the development of these new schools and I am always impressed by the enthusiasm of school staff who work tirelessly to establish the identity of the school in its community. Congratulations to Principals – Peter Edwards at San Damiano College and Narelle Dobson at Sophia College – on this milestone and as they eagerly await the opportunity to welcome foundation students and staff in January.

On Friday 30 October, I am looking forward to acknowledging those dedicated BCE staff who have served BCE for 40 and 50 years. Their commitment is a shining example for us all.

Remarkable Women – our Student Pastoral Ministers

(From left standing) Sr Francine Caesar (Our Lady Help of Christians, Hendra), Sr Jenny Scari (St Joseph’s Tobruk, Beenleigh), Sr Teresa Ekerick (Sacred Heart, Sandgate), Kathy Shelton BCE Principal Education Officer, Sr Jucelina De Lourdes Pereira (St Francis Xavier, Goodna), Kirsty Kaeser (Education Officer Student Wellbeing), Sr Sue Walpole (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Darra) (from left sitting) Sr Denise Brosnan, Sr Kathleen Mooney (St Kevin's Geebung), Sr Anne Cannon (Holy Spirit, Wooloowin and St Mary of the Cross, Windsor)

This week our Student Pastoral Ministers gathered to farewell Sr Denise Brosnan. Sr Denise, a Sister of Saint Joseph, has been working in Catholic Education across the country since 1972.  She commenced her ministry at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Sunnybank, as a teacher, and worked in various schools in Brisbane and in other Dioceses in Queensland as well as in the Kimberley in Western Australia.

As well as teaching, she has been a Principal and a Senior Education Officer based at the Toowoomba Catholic Education Office. Sr Denise has worked as a School Pastoral Worker in three different primary schools in BCE, St Mary's School, ​Beaudesert, All Saints’ School, Boonah, and most recently at St Brendan's School, Moorooka. Along the way she has completed studies in theology, counselling, educational leadership and qualified as a spiritual director and counsellor supervisor.

In wishing Sr Denise all the very best, I acknowledge this group of remarkable women who gently and humbly go about their work in a number of our school communities. Their contribution collectively to Catholic education cannot be quantified as they have worked tirelessly in our schools and ministries over many decades.

​​​​​​​They have influenced the lives of many thousands of students and their families through their leadership, their teaching and their vocation and love of God. The example they set has inspired and encouraged generations of staff and students across so many contexts. They reach out to, and support those who are vulnerable and at the margins as their vocation touches gently the lives of so many. We offer our sincere thanks for their wisdom, kindness and tireless commitment.​

Planning for the future – our 2021-2025 Strategic Plan

Just as our Year 12s are now planning for the future, as an organisation, we are looking to where we want to be in five years and, importantly, how we are going to get there.

The BCE Strategic Plan 2021-2025: Future Learning Communities sets our strategic direction and was developed through extensive consultation with staff and stakeholders. I am excited about the journey ahead as we pursue our Vision of being ‘a faith-filled learning community creating a better future’.

Our strategic plan is built around the people we serve – our students and their families; our schools; BCE office staff; our parishes, and the broader community.

I encourage each of you to take time to explore the strategic plan, become familiar with our priorities and enablers which will allow us to achieve the goals set out in this strategy.

You can share your thoughts on the strategic plan here.

Thank you for your involvement in helping to set the direction of this plan and for being a part of this important journey that will shape and sustain our schools into the future.

NCEC Faith in the Future Virtual Symposium - Friday 30 October 2020 11:30am-2:30pm (AEDT).

This virtual symposium is an opportunity for staff to participate in this excellent professional learning opportunity. The program features two keynote speakers: Dr Carol Campbell and Prof John Haldane and participants also will hear from Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan and Shadow Minister, Tanya Plibersek.

This Symposium is free - you can register here  ​​

World Teachers’ Day

Whether it is your first year of teaching or your 50th, I wish you all the very best as we celebrate World Teachers’ Day on 30th October.  This year’s theme: Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future is apt during this year in which teachers have shown great creativity, agility and care for their students. Teachers have led patiently, professionally and pastorally providing students with an opportunity to use their imagination in so many ways. We not only honour our teachers on World Teachers’ Day – every day teachers made a difference.

I close with an extract from the prayer to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of Mary MacKillop – a great role model to all teachers.

May we trust as Mary did, being mindful of your loving presence in all we do. Living today with Mary’s words, leaning on you and trusting in your providence. Amen. 

“He wants us to take fresh courage - to lean more on Him and less on ourselves”. St Mary MacKillop 1877

Sisters of St Joseph Website



Top stories