The Vertical House Pastoral Care System at OLMC

In 2018, Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta moved to the Vertical House Pastoral Care System and introduced four new Houses: Callaghan, Callan, Doyle and Kavanagh.

The Vertical House Pastoral Care System, which sees students grouped in Houses rather than Year Groups for Pastoral Care, fosters strong links between girls, teachers and parents/carers.

Homeroom Groups are House based and include girls from Year 7 through to Year 12. The Homeroom Group provides a sense of belonging to a ‘small family unit’ within a larger House family and bonds are created between peers of all ages. Students will have the same Mentor and House Leader throughout their OLMC journey

The Houses at OLMC Parramatta are named after people and places associated with Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and the Sisters from Callan, Ireland who established the College in 1889.

Each House has an emblem, colour and motto and the Houses have been paired, such that Sister Houses have been created: Stanley is paired with Kavanagh, McAuley with Doyle, Clare with Callan and Mercedes with Callaghan.

Students are allocated lockers in the colour of their House and there are House Shirts for every House. There are House events, formal and informal functions as well as inter-House competitions.

Callaghan

I give so others may prosper / ut aliis bene sit

BACKGROUND: The Callaghan family who helped Catherine McAuley in her youth and supported her charity work. Catherine McAuley was able to grow her charitable works as the Callaghan family were significant benefactors; William Callaghan leaving his estate to Catherine McAuley upon his death. Catherine gave catechetical instruction to the household servants and poor village children from Coolock House.

EMBLEM: The Callaghan emblem uses a window as its background, representing the window Catherine McAuley used as her cross in the Callaghan household. This window is combined with a giving tree in the midst of growth. This visual representation of how Catherine supported Mr and Mrs Callaghan to grow and develop in their faith is also a clear link to the motto – ‘I give so others may prosper.

HOUSE PRAYER

God of charity,
Your son Jesus inspired the community to share what they had with those less fortunate, leading generous lives and creating a community united in peace.
Through the Callaghans, you showed us that a family can be founded on compassion and united through faith.
May you nurture our spirits and protect us on our journey, as the Callaghan family supported Catherine McAuley.
Help us to mirror the kinship demonstrated by the Callaghan family in our own Mercy community.

I give so others may prosper

Mary Mother of Mercy
Pray for us
Catherine McAuley
Pray for us

Callan

In God we trust / in Deo confidimus

BACKGROUND: St Mary’s Callan in Kilkenny, Ireland is the convent of origin for the Sisters who came to Parramatta. In 1888 Cardinal Moran invited the Sisters of Mercy from Callan, Ireland, to set up a foundation in Parramatta. Callan has significant links to OLMC as the Sisters from Callan embraced their mission by helping the poor, sick, marginalised and setting up the foundations for OLMC, all while capturing the Mercy values that continue to live on today.

EMBLEM: The Callan emblem represents an image of the Martlett bird, linking back to the Irish crest for the Callan area and the College’s Irish heritage.The Martlett is symbolic of perpetual movement and the choice to have the birds face forward, with wings spread,visually refers to the motto – ‘In God we have confidence’ to fly into the future and the unknown.

HOUSE PRAYER

God of community,
Your son Jesus taught and lived the value of community. Alongside his disciples, He led a strong, faith-filled community in which compassion and mercy were dominant.
We give thanks for the works of the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy who travelled from Callan, Ireland to establish Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta.
In your guidance, we strive to strengthen our school community as we move forward and carry on this legacy that the Sisters of Mercy founded here for us.
We pray for your guidance in building a community that extends beyond the school gates.

In God we have confidence.

Mary Mother of Mercy,
Pray for us
Catherine McAuley,
Pray for us

Clare

Be faithful / estefideles

BACKGROUND: Mother M. Clare led the first group of nine Sisters of Mercy from Callan in Ireland to Parramatta in 1888. Mother Clare took care to develop the highest standard of education at OLMC Parramatta and her vision continues today. Mother Clare died on June 22nd, 1927 and is buried in the Mother M. Clare Memorial Chapel.

EMBLEM: The emblem for Clareis a stylised representation of the Mercy International Centre in Callan. It was the first House of Mercy built by Catherine McAuley in response to the needs of the poor. The roof symbolises the protection and shelter of Mercy – both as a house and as a living charism. The trio of pillars represent the Holy Trinity – supporting our faith and growth. The chosen House colour reflects the red of the doors, reminding us to‘Be Faithful,’ and to leave doors open to those who are in need of support.

HOUSE PRAYER

God of leadership,
Jesus is our shepherd, leading us to take initiative as servant leaders.
Mother Mary Clare Dunphy shared the same vision as Jesus as she took a risk journeying from Callan to Parramatta, knowing that God would support and protect her.
We ask that you guide us in our journey to hear Your call, just as Mother Clare Dunphy did. May we know when we are being called to lead, so that your work can be done.
Teach us to use our hands and feet to live out your will in our daily lives. Help us to always have the best interests of those around us in mind, as we do all things in and for the glory and mercy of God.

Be faithful.

Mary Mother of Mercy,
Pray for us
Catherine McAuley,
Pray for us

Doyle

We are called / ad curandumvocamur

BACKGROUND:

Mary Anne Doyle was a loyal friend and faithful companion of Catherine McAuley. Catherine mentions: “It all started with two, Mary Anne Doyle and me”. ‘Doyle’ was nominated as a new House name because Anna Maria Doyle was one of the first to help Catherine McAuley with the house in Baggot Street.

EMBLEM: The Doyle House emblem features the Irish symbol for friendship. Using the symbol as the central element, combined with the colour pink to represent the female bond, it highlights how it is with the bonds of friendship that the Sisters of Mercy were ‘called to care.’

HOUSE PRAYER

Jesus was a friend to all, who crossed barriers to include everyone, especially those who lived on the fringes of society.
Sister Anna Maria Doyle committed her life to serve the Sisters of Mercy, alongside her close friend Catherine McAuley.
Like her, we extend the hand of friendship as a school community, knowing that we are stronger together, united by our differences.
We ask that the spirit of hospitality reminds us to keep our arms open in welcome.

Called to care

Mary Mother of Mercy,
Pray for us
Catherine McAuley,
Pray for us

Kavanagh

Strive to do your best / ad optimum nitere

BACKGROUND: Mother M. Alacoque Kavanagh was the first principal of Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta from 1889-1908. She was also the bursar during this time when money was scarce and she faced considerable difficulties. She is described as very generous, an excellent teacher and one who never said an uncharitable word, a great role model for teachers and girls alike at the College. In Parramatta, Mother M. Alacoque continued the splendid educational work she had commenced in Ireland, her students gaining the highest distinctions, even the coveted ‘Fairfax Prize’.

EMBLEM: The Kavanagh emblem features a book with a quill to reflect Mother M.Alacoque’s excellence in teaching. The quill is in motion, the line half written, to highlight potential and that the best, which is yet to come, requires action to achieve.

HOUSE PRAYER

God of Excellence,
Your son Jesus taught us to do and be more than we are. His teachings encourage us to act as God’s hands and feet, becoming leaders within our community.
Your daughter, Mother Alacoque Kavanagh, persevered for the education of women and enabled them to excel and exceed their own expectations.
Inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves and help us to overcome the obstacles within our learning and grow as young Mercy women.

Strive to do your best.

Mary Mother of Mercy
Pray for us
Catherine Mcauley
Pray for us

McAuley

Not for us but for all / non nobissed omnibus

BACKGROUND: The vision of Catherine McAuley is carried on today throughout the world by Sisters of Mercy who belong to the Congregation she began in Dublin, Ireland in 1831. Catherine McAuley’s influence is among us here at OLMC as we strive to be women of love, justice and mercy. Catherine McAuley had a great love of the poor and desire to provide quality education for all women.

EMBLEM: The McAuley emblem as a lion in the centre. This comes from the family coat of arms for McAuley. The lion is the emblem of “deathless courage.” The yellow is a link to the lion’s strength and colour. Originally the lion itself was designed in red to link with the Irish crest. This was updated in 2018 to bring it into line with the design ofthe other House emblems.

HOUSE PRAYER

Dear God of Compassion,
Jesus modelled how, as Christians, we must advocate for those less fortunate, even if it means challenging the accepted norms.
Catherine McAuley embodied this by providing support and opportunities for women in a society that dismissed them. She empowered young girls, teaching them to aspire for greatness no matter what adversities they faced.
Help us to live our lives with compassion and courage at the heart of every action we do.

Not for us but for all

Mary Mother of Mercy
Pray for us
Catherine McAuley
Pray for us

Mercedes

In this sign we will achieve / in hoc signovincemus

BACKGROUND:

The word “Mercedes” is Latin for mercy. Mercy is Love in Action. Mercy is God’s compassion reaching out to make the world more human. We each give and receive Mercy and remember that Mary, the Mother of Jesus is also our Mother of Mercy.

EMBLEM: The emblem has been designed in blue to link with biblical references to the colour. Blue has been used to represent Grace, Mercy and the River of Life. The motto is “In this sign we will achieve” and the Cross in the middle of the emblem reflects the idea that God is at the centre of everything we achieve.

HOUSE PRAYER

God of Mercy,
Your son Jesus showed compassion and mercy to all around him. He reached out to the marginalised within society, and lived Mercy in his every action.
Just as Jesus’ mother Mary trusted in her son and lived a life abiding to his example, we are also called to have faith in Jesus, and be Mercy. Please send the Holy Spirit to ignite the flame of Mercy in all of us.

In this sign we will achieve

Mary Mother of Mercy,
Pray for us
Catherine McAuley,
Pray for us

Stanley

The crown to the one who tries / conanti corona

BACKGROUND: Sister M. Gonzaga Stanley was Principal of OLMC for 19 years from 1946. She was a gifted student herself and gained a University Medal in Geography. Sr M. Gonzaga Stanley had enormous influence on students at OLMC and on the quality of education provided for the young women of the forties and fifties.

Her sister, Sister Mary Alphonsus Stanley was also Principal of OLMC from 1934-1945. She was a gifted educator who maintained interest in her students beyond school and into their chosen profession.

EMBLEM: A shamrock is a young sprig of clover, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. The emblem for Stanley contains a crown within a shamrock, linking it to the House motto, “The crown to the ones who tries.”The colour green also links to the Irish heritage of the Sisters

HOUSE PRAYER

God of Perseverance,
We learn to steadily persist like your Son Jesus as He continuously strove to preach the Word of God and spread his message of love. The Stanley sisters persevered to provide quality education for young women, developing them academically and holistically with the values of Mercy. We pray that you remind us, determination and effort is to be valued, just as much as the end result.

The crown to the one who tries

Mary Mother of Mercy
Pray for us
Catherine McAuley
Pray for us

SISTER HOUSES

Relationship between Stanley and Kavanagh Houses

Mother M. Alacoque Kavanagh was the first Principal of OLMC from 1889-1908. She was also the Bursar during this time when money was scarce and she faced considerable difficulties. Mother Mary Alphonsus Stanley (1934–1945) and Sister Mary Gonzaga Stanley (1946–1964) were also Principals of the College. The relationship between the two Houses bears witness to the pivotal role of women in leadership; women who embodied and nurtured the spirit of Mercy in the community.

Relationship between Doyle and McAuley Houses

Anna Maria Doyle was the loyal friend and faithful companion of Catherine McAuley. She was one of the first women to work alongside her when the House of Mercy first opened in Baggott Street. Anna Maria Doyle became Sister Mary Ann, Assistant to Catherine in the administration of the new Institute. In March 1835, Catherine named Mary Ann as Superior of the first branch house opened in Kingstown. The close relationship between the Houses commemorates the friendship and mutual support at the heart of the Mercy foundation in Ireland.

Relationship between Callan and Clare Houses

The Convent of Mercy in the town of Callan is the convent of origin for the Sisters who made the long journey from Ireland to Parramatta. Mother Mary Clare Dunphy was chosen to lead eight other Sisters of Mercy to Australia, at the invitation of Cardinal Moran, the then Archbishop of Sydney. These Houses bear witness to the role of the Irish people in establishing the College and the journey of courage and vision that brought the Mercy Charism from Callan to Parramatta.

Relationship between Mercedes and Callaghan Houses

When she was 25, Catherine McAuley came to live with the Callaghans, an elderly Quaker couple with no children of their own and she became their friend and companion. Her influence was such that both of them became Catholics before they died. The Callaghans supported her and approved of her charitable works with the poor of Dublin. She was able to extend her mission of mercy when William Callaghan left the entirety of his substantial estate to Catherine, enabling her to build the House of Mercy in Baggott Street. These two Houses belong together through the active charism and power of Mercy.