Sophia College walking gently with creation

​Planting the Illawarra flame tree following the Blessing and Official Opening of
Stage 1 of Sophia College, Plainland

AN Illawarra flame tree will be a permanent reminder to students at Sophia College, Plainland, of the day the College was blessed and officially opened. As it grows, the tree will symbolise the College's call to be a vibrant community of learning that fosters care for everybody and a deep connection to creation in a rich Franciscan tradition.

While blessing the College buildings, staff and students, Archbishop Mark Coleridge reminded those gathered that they are called to be a living witness of the Gospel message, just as St Francis and St Clare were.

The liturgy was a colourful celebration of the gift of creation with the 95 foundation students bringing to life a mosaic painting of St Francis walking in the elements of creation. 

Following the liturgy Archbishop Coleridge, joined by Jim Madden, State Member for Ipswich West, Pam Betts, BCE Executive Director and Narelle Dobson, Foundation Principal, unveiled a plaque to mark the momentous occasion.

The College is situated on 19-hectares and welcomed its first Year 7 students at the beginning of 2021. Miss Betts said the College had become a significant landmark in Plainland, offering innovative educational facilities, while also paying homage to its Franciscan tradition and response to Pope Francis' letter Laudato Si', to become more integrally aware and connected to all of creation.

“Sophia College has been master-planned to include a unique eco-science precinct, that provides distinctive spaces for our staff to teach, challenge and transform the students in their care," she said.

Miss Betts also acknowledged the leadership and commitment of Foundation Principal Narelle Dobson, her leadership team, the Community Consultative Committee, and the foundation staff in the development of Sophia College.

She encouraged the foundation students and future students to “take every opportunity presented, to celebrate successes and face any challenge with courage".

Foundation Principal Narelle Dobson said the blessing and official opening was another milestone in the College's story. She said the liturgy was a wonderful testament of the staff's commitment to walking in Jesus' footsteps through the lens of St Francis and their commitment to nurture the Franciscan charism.

“I am particularly thankful to all the staff members who have accepted the call to become people of hope, and to the students and their families who have joined us to walk gently with creation through wisdom and love," she said.

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