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Transfer of Ministries

19th Jun 2014

In historic and moving ceremonies, the Presentation Sisters of Queensland transferred their two secondary Colleges for girls to the sponsorship of Mercy Partners.

The transfer of St Rita’s College at Clayfield took place on 27 May and the transfer of St Ursula’s College, Yeppoon took place on 12 June. The Congregation was joined by the Councillors of Mercy Partners, the College Boards, local community leaders, parents and students. In Yeppoon, we were joined by the recently appointed Bishop of Rockhampton, Most Reverend Michael McCarthy.

Both celebrations also hosted many of the Presentation Sisters who had lived and worked in the Colleges. It was for them a special moment, a mixture of sadness and joy. The Congregation has been committed to the education of young women in Queensland for nearly a century, and through the sponsorship of Mercy Partners these two significant colleges will remain Catholic ministries into the future.

Sr Kathleen Tynan pbvm, Congregation Leader of the Presentation Sisters, and Steward of Mercy Partners likened the transfer to the grafting of a tree, where the older, strong tree provides strength and solidarity to the new energy and vitality of the grafted sapling. This was a powerful image, as the Presentation Sisters and the Sisters of Mercy, the founders of Mercy Partners, share a common heritage in the Church in Ireland. Both Congregations responded with enthusiasm to the needs of the early Church in Australia, and have continued through the years to offer support and encouragement to each other.

Sr Anne Hetherington noted that Mercy Partners regards the transfer of the Colleges as both a privilege and a responsibility.

She said, “It is a privilege, because, of all the possible options the Presentation Sisters had, they chose to place the Colleges with Mercy Partners, and this is something we regard as a sacred trust. It is responsibility because assuming canonical sponsorship of a ministry brings with it serious obligations, not only to the Church, but also to the transferring Congregation and to the ministry itself. We see it as our role to work with the Presentation Congregation and the leadership of the Colleges not only in maintaining the catholicity of the ministry into the future, but also in ensuring that the legacy of Nano Nagle, as expressed in her story, her vision and her values, continues to inspire all that the Colleges do. The Presentation charism is written deep in the Colleges' DNA, and we will do all we can to ensure that it stays that way”.