Pastoral Care Program
The wellbeing and care of our students is a fundamental aspect of Marist Catholic education. The College places significant emphasis on our Pastoral Care Program based on the philosophy of Saint Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the Marist Brothers.
We are a strong community which centres on developing positive relationships within a family atmosphere where people are welcomed, respected and valued. We believe learning is ongoing and achieved through many contexts and life experiences.
Students and teachers alike must work together to develop a sense of companionship on this journey. In a supportive environment, students are encouraged to grow in self-discipline while developing an empathy for and sense of others. Through our restorative approach to wrongdoing when relationships break down or if correction is needed, we appeal to a student’s sense of personal and collective responsibility to repair the harm that is caused and restore relationships. This challenges us to ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’
A way of replicating the family atmosphere within the College is through our House system and Tutor Groups. Each student at Mt Maria is welcomed into one of six Houses each under the leadership of a House Co-ordinator. The House Co-ordinator maintains an overview of progress and provides the general care and organisation of each House group.
Within each House, individual teachers lead a Tutor Group which consists of approximately 18-22 students from Years 7 to 12. The Tutor Teacher who works in partnership with the House Co-ordinator, undertakes the pastoral care of students on a daily basis. Older students serve as role models and big brothers/sisters for younger students in their Tutor Group. The House system and Tutor Groups promote a strong sense of community, personal care and leadership opportunities.
Lots of activities throughout the year are organised within the House structure. Students are involved in activities such as inter House sports, House meetings, competitions, fundraising, Masses, and Champagnat Day. The following paragraphs explain some history to each of our House names.
Benedict: Benedict of Nursia (c 480-550) is regarded as the founder of the monastic movement within the Church. He felt called to distance himself from the affluence of the world and adopt a simple lifestyle. His rule includes this advice to the monks of the community: “No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. “Benedict is a special patron of the Good Samaritan Sisters who conducted the original girls’ school at Wilston, which was named St Benedict’s.
Champagnat: As a young priest in southern France, Marcellin Champagnat saw a great need for children in rural areas to have the opportunity to receive a good education. In 1817 he invited two young men to work with him and establish a school in the parish of Lavalla. These two young men were the first Marist Brothers. Within 10 years there were nearly 100 Brothers working in fourteen schools in that part of France. Today the network of Marist schools extends through about 80 countries in the world.
Lavalla: This was the town where Fr Champagnat began his ministry as a priest in 1816. One day he was called to the bedside of a boy who was dying. Marcellin was disturbed to find that the boy knew nothing about God; he spent some time with him speaking of these things, and anointed him. Later in the day he heard that the boy had died not long after his visit. After this event Champagnat was determined to establish schools for children in rural areas. The school at Lavalla was the first Marist school, and it continues today.
MacKILLOP: Mary MacKillop is regarded as the first Australian to be declared a saint. As a young woman in South Australia she established small schools for the children of poor struggling farmers. She had a conviction that every child deserved a good education, and she gathered other young women to join her in this work. This group became the Sisters of St Joseph, and they have made an enormous contribution to Catholic schooling in Australia over the last 140 years.
Montagne: By the time Marcellin had entered the priesthood, France had been at war almost continuously for 26 years and public education in rural areas had collapsed. This background of no schools or education system led Marcellin into a life-changing event. One day, a young man of the parish called him to a seventeen-year-old boy, Jean-Baptiste Montagne, who was dying. What affected Marcellin so profoundly about this meeting was that Jean-Baptiste at only seventeen and in almost complete ignorance of Christianity was a tragedy. He decided he had to act to ensure others did not suffer the same fate. This event, more than any other, set Marcellin on the path which would lead him to found the Marist Brothers. In the context of Marist culture, this story holds a place as one of the sacred stories, a defining foundational experience which lead to the formation of the Marist way of education.
Pelletier: Rose Virginie Pelletier grew up on the west coast of France. After the death of her father, she was sent to a boarding school in Tours where the woman in charge was quite harsh and the school routine was very demanding. As a young woman Rose Virginie helped at a nearby convent that offered refuge for women and girls who were homeless or at risk of exploitation. At that home she learnt how important it was to offer acceptance, understanding and love. This approach became a guiding principle for those carers who became the Good Shepherd Sisters; a group of these Sisters established Mt Maria Home for girls in 1930 and carried on that work until the late 1970’s. (A portrait of Rose Virginie can be seen in the foyer at Mitchelton).
The College Counsellor makes an important contribution to the educational experience of the students at the College.
The Guidance Counsellor has a focus on enhancing the mental health and resilience of all students, including those considered at risk and those with special needs. This is achieved through systemic and individual interventions – thus contributing to equitable educational access, participation and outcomes for all students.
The Guidance Counsellor also facilitates Career Development activities including Career Counselling, Education Pathways and Information Distribution. This aspect of the role is conducted in close consultation with other College staff members especially the VET Co-ordinator and Year Co-ordinators and other relevant agencies within the community.
Career education is offered to students from Years 8-10 with the opportunity for Work Experience provided to certain students in Year 10. As well, there is a focus on transition and extension studies for Vocational Education students to prepare them for senior schooling.