Feast Day of St Mary of the Cross, 8 August

On Tuesday, we remembered the feast day of our first Australian saint, St Mary of the Cross, who was the foundress of the Sisters of St Joseph, who founded one of our previous schools, St Joseph’s Rockdale, then moved to Kogarah, way back when the St George area was settled and Catholics began to work, live and worship in the area.

St. Mary MacKillop, in full Saint Mary Helen MacKillop, also called Saint Mary of the Cross (born January 15, 1842, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia—died August 8, 1909, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; canonized October 17, 2010; feast day August 8), religious figure, educator, and social reformer who was the first Australian beatified by the Roman Catholic Church and the first Australian to be recognized as one of its saints.

MacKillop was born in Australia to Scottish immigrants. Her father, a former seminarian whose ill health had caused him to abandon study for the priesthood, stressed the importance of education and home-schooled his nine children. When she was 14, MacKillop began working, and she was often her family’s main source of support. In 1860 she moved to the small rural town of Penola to serve as governess for the children of her aunt and uncle.

There MacKillop provided her cousins with a basic education and soon extended this to the poor children of the town. A young priest, Father Julian Tenison Woods, encouraged her to continue this work, assuring her that educating the poor would be an ideal way to serve God.

In 1866 MacKillop and Woods founded Australia’s first order of nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, and also established St. Joseph’s School in a converted stable in Penola, providing a free education to children from the area. In 1867 MacKillop took vows and became the first mother superior of the sisters. The following year the sisters opened schools in other Australian cities, as well as an orphanage and a refuge for women released from prison.


MacKillop intended that the order be self-governed and devoted to teaching and charity. She and Woods, who composed the rule for the order, insisted that the sisters would accept a life of total poverty, trusting in Divine Providence. Further, her school at Penola and the other schools that her order founded provided secular as well as religious education, regardless of the religious affiliation of the students, and accepted no money from the government, remaining open to all and accepting only what tuition parents could afford, at a time when the government still provided funding to religious schools. Some Australian priests and bishops were openly hostile both to the degree of autonomy that the Josephites enjoyed and to MacKillop’s rejection of federal funding. In 1871, perhaps intentionally misinformed by his advisers, Bishop Laurence Sheil of Adelaide excommunicated MacKillop for nsubordination. The next year, however, on his deathbed, Sheil acknowledged that he might have been misled, and he reinstated MacKillop.

The remainder of MacKillop’s career was marked by clashes with priests and bishops of the Australian church. After an 1873 meeting with Pope Pius IX, she won papal approval for the Josephite rule, with modifications that relaxed the degree of poverty imposed upon the sisters. MacKillop expanded the order’s educational and charitable endeavours and attracted new sisters. In 1875 she was appointed superior general of the order. Despite her elevation, she continued to meet with hostility from a number of priests and bishops, and the sisters’ work was circumscribed in certain cities. In 1885 she was removed as superior general, though she was reinstated in 1899 and remained at the head of the order until her death.

In June 1995 MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II. In February 2010, after evaluating the testimony of an Australian woman who claimed that her terminal cancer had disappeared after she called upon MacKillop in prayer, Pope Benedict XVI recognized MacKillop as a saint. She was canonized that October.

Mary MacKillop Prayer

Ever generous God,

You inspired St Mary of the Cross

to live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus

and constant in bringing hope and encouragement

to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.

With confidence in your generous providence

and joining with St Mary of the Cross

we ask that you grant the special requests in our hearts.

We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by

the Holy Spirit

so that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with

courage, trust and openness.

Ever generous God, hear our prayers.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Amen.






Year 9 NAPLAN results and the HSC minimum standard

Message from NESA

HSC minimum standard required to receive the HSC from 2020

Literacy and numeracy skills are the foundation for success in life after school. This is why eligibility for the HSC is changing. From 2020, students will need to show they have the basic literacy and numeracy skills needed to complete everyday tasks.

Your child will have a number of opportunities from Year 9 to Year 12, and even  after the HSC to show they meet the HSC minimum standard. Some students will meet the requirement early through their Year 9 NAPLAN results in reading, writing and numeracy. However, most students will show they meet the standard by passing short, online

reading, writing and numeracy tests in Years 10, 11 or 12.


Year 9 NAPLAN reports available in mid-August

Your child’s Year 9 NAPLAN report will indicate which online HSC minimum standard test/s (if any)  they will need to pass to be eligible for the HSC certificate. Remember your child has three more years of learning before the HSC and can take the HSC minimum standard online tests in Years 10, 11 or 12.

Year 9 NAPLAN is a good chance to check they are on track or get support to meet the minimum standard by Year 12.

If your child has achieved a Band 8 or above in reading, writing or numeracy, the NAPLAN report will indicate that they have “Met the HSC minimum standard early” in the respective area/s.  

Your child can sit the online HSC minimum standard tests when they are ready. There are three separate 45 minute online tests: reading, writing and numeracy. Students don’t have to

pass all three tests at once and can attempt each test up to twice a year.

The reading and numeracy tests each contain a maximum of 45 multiple choice questions.

The writing test will require students to respond to a question about a prompt or stimulus.

You can try some sample reading and numeracy questions at https://hscliteracynumeracy.nesa.nsw.edu.au/

For more information visit www.educationstandards.nsw.edu.au


Students not Returning to Bethany in 2018

If any student is not returning to Bethany College in 2018 could they please notify the school at your earliest convenience.


Community Prayers

  • We are all continuing to pray for Ms Mai’s daughter Milan who is currently being treated for a serious medical condition at Prince of Wales Children’s Hopsital. Milan is a very brave little girl and our prayers will help in keeping the family’s spirits up.
  • Keep Emily Boskovski (Y8) in your prayers this week because her paternal grandmother passed away suddenly last Monday night.
  • We also pray for the repose of the soul of Ms Connie Georgiou’s grandfather who passed away this week. Such losses really throw us out of kilter and those left behind reflect on a life lived.


Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato