Miracles happen each day, can you see them?

This year has been quite unusual. In a short period of five months, nine staff members have lost a parent. That is nine families with their extended families and friends who are grieving the loss of a loved one. This week I attended the funeral of Anne Flint, the spouse of Lou Flint a former Deputy Principal at Cardijn College. Lou and his sons Ben and Nick provided the eulogy where they described Anne as a person who made a difference to the life of every person she interacted with. Her service to Catholic Education and Anglicare typifies a woman who was not only endeared to everyone but also one who was deeply committed to supporting others who were less fortunate. I remember Anne not only as the spouse of a close friend but as a colleague and a teacher of my daughter Michelle when she was at school. Lou spoke beautifully and in his true style, used his quick wit and drew laughter from the congregation. How courageous is it that you can speak so lovingly about your soulmate and wife? Lou said: “We prayed for a miracle in these final days of Anne’s life but came to the realisation that in fact Anne was the miracle”. In grief and sorrow, those words are precious because we see miracles every day, we need to be conscious that we are seeing it unfold.

This Sunday the 6th of June, we celebrate the feast day of St Marcellin Champagnat, our patron saint and of course one of our campuses is named after him. At our Marcellin Campus we celebrated his feast day with a Mass celebrated by Fr Dev and prepared by our Mission Engagement Officer Olivia Carver. Our students and staff were terrific and participated in the service with great reverence. During the day, the students were involved in their own Athon Day where they participated in a range of team activities and then shared a simple lunch. Marcellin Campus’ charity focus is the Vinnie’s Winter Appeal and I congratulate the Marcellin community for getting behind this worthy cause.

In the homily of the mass, Fr Dev spoke about five core values that are deeply embedded in the life of St Marcellin Champagnat and therefore our community. He spoke about the importance of FAITH and belief, a simple question of having a purpose for life. Our belief is grounded in the gospels proclaimed by Jesus and the life we need to live to be a good person, a belief that we can make a difference in this world. LOVE is one of those pillars in our faith that speaks of relationship and a deep sense of respecting the dignity of every person. COMPASSION speaks of all the times when we are faced with the tragedies that beset us and our world, that compassion serves us as a people who care and are prepared to forgive and reconcile the inevitable difference or fallouts we encounter in life. JUSTICE is one of those core values which many will resonate with. That we strive for fairness in a world which is unfair where we see so much inequality and injustice. Who will step up and speak for justice? And last HOSPITALITY, a wonderful outreach to make every person welcome and for them to belong. To reach out and say “Please join us.”

St Marcellin Champagnat said, “We must love each child and love them equally.” The five core values above are fundamental in making St Marcellin Champagnat’s words a lived experience.

When I think of Anne Flint and her family, and in fact many families, you live these core values each day and you make a difference in the lives of so many people. When we talk about miracles, these miracles are the people we meet each day. Be grateful for these moments and treasure them.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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