As a Catholic school in the Marist tradition, St Joseph’s College is committed to educating the students in its care to become men who value and nurture their faith long after they leave the school. Boys are challenged to appreciate their responsibility to the local and global community through a commitment to the values of social justice and compassion for the needs of others.
The college is inspired by the life and vision of St Marcellin Champagnat who, in post-revolutionary France, saw the plight of the poor (particularly those who had no hope of receiving an education), and consequently began the order of Marist Brothers to counter this need.
In Australia in 1881 the Marist Brothers founded St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, and their presence continues to inspire and inform the life of the community to the present day.
St Marcellin taught the first Brothers ‘To make Jesus known and loved’. For Marcellin, and those who follow in his footsteps, Jesus is the human face of God encountered in three places:
At the Crib, where we encounter innocence, simplicity and gentleness and are touched by the situation of poverty and fragility of people, especially the least favoured.
At the foot of the Cross, where we find a God who shares the suffering experienced by humanity, and transforms these experiences. We associate ourselves with those who struggle for bread, justice and peace.
At the Altar, where we find a privileged place to enter into communion with the Body of Christ: to stand as one with all who are members and to deepen our relationship with the living presence of Jesus in our lives which subsequently leads to a deeper relationship with others.
Adapted from Water from the Rock, The Institute of Marist Brothers, 2007
St Marcellin was at once a realist and a visionary and it was in this manner that he instructed the first Brothers in their role as teachers. It is with this same appreciation of the privileged nature of the vocation that teachers at St Joseph’s work with students to ensure an education that is of the highest standards and reflects the Gospel imperative of love of God and others.
St Marcellin’s words ring as true today in the 21st century as they did when first spoken:
‘So love your students; fight ceaselessly against the indifference, weariness and annoyance their faults so easily arouse in you. Without closing your eyes to their defects, because you must correct them, keep in mind the same pleasant qualities they have, which deserve your attention. Look at the innocence which shines in their peaceful faces and unwrinkled brows, the naivety of their statements, the sincerity of their contrition even though it may not last long, the honesty of their resolutions even though they break them quickly, the generosity of their efforts, even though it is rarely sustained for long. Give them credit for the good they do and for the evil they do not do.’
Staff at St Joseph’s are given opportunities to deepen their appreciation of the Marist Charism through programs such as ‘Sharing our Call’, ‘Schools of the Spirit’ and the ‘Faith Formators Colloqium’ facilitated by the Marist Ministries Office of the Sydney Province.
As a Catholic school the celebration of the Eucharist is central to the life of St Joseph’s and college is fortunate to have Fr Andrew Nee as its Chaplain. There are regular opportunities for the community to come together for prayer and liturgical celebrations. These include:
Fr Andrew is available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation every Wednesday evening in the Chapel. This provides an excellent opportunity for the boys to find some quiet reflection time in the midst of a busy week.
Boys who have not been confirmed are invited to take part in the preparation program offered by the college. The Sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated annually and is a wonderful expression and affirmation of the faith of both those who receive the Sacrament and the entire college family.
In conjunction with the liturgical life of the college and the formal Religious Education curriculum, all students take part in experiences to assist them in reflecting on the place of faith in their lives.
Students in Years 7 to 10 take part in reflection days which provide an opportunity for them to contemplate God’s role in their lives, to deepen their friendships and to focus on putting their faith into action. These days are developed in conjunction with the content of the Religious Education curriculum.
In Term 1 students in Year 11 participate in a Ministry Day as part of their preparation for the Ministry Week they complete later in the year. During Ministry Week students commit to an extended period of community service where they are challenged to a more adult appreciation of what each of them can do to ‘help the weak to carry their burdens’ (Acts 20:35). This active witness to the message of Jesus and the social teaching of the Catholic Church is a critical component of the senior program at St Joseph’s.
The Year 12 Retreat provides students with the opportunity to leave the everyday college routine and engage in a more intensive period of reflection on faith, life and relationships. The small group environment, the interaction with teachers and in particular the opportunity for quiet prayer and sharing at this critical stage of life is an experience that stays with the boys long after the year is over.
This program provides Indigenous students from both urban and rural communities with the opportunity of an outstanding education in an environment that is supported by appropriate pastoral care. Parents, carers and families of Indigenous students are warmly welcomed into the college community and are encouraged to actively engage with the school. Liaison with students and families is facilitated through a number of structures including the roles of the indigenous Education Assistant and the Director of Mission.
Indigenous students actively contribute to all facets of life at St Joseph’s and regularly take part in community events such as the National Indigenous Leadership Program, local council Reconciliation Day events and NAIDOC Week celebrations.
In December each year St Joseph’s becomes home for an extended weekend to children who experience a range of physical and emotional disabilities. The Joeys students who volunteer to lead this program provide living witness to the Christian imperative of service that underpins all life at the college. They are extraordinary young men who exemplify the St Joseph’s College motto: ‘Strive for better things’.
Staff of the college also give a great deal of their own time throughout the year preparing for the Camp to ensure that the children who visit have a non-stop time of fun and games.
Each year senior students have the opportunity to apply to work in a Marist community in a developing country. In 2007 students spent time in the Philippines, witnessing first-hand the plight of children who survive by picking through the garbage dumps of the city. St Marcellin Champagnat’s vision was that the students in the schools his Brothers founded would be ‘good Christians and good citizens’. Through spending time with the poorest of the poor, the students of St Joseph’s stand prepared to take their place in the global community, aware of the vast differences that separate its citizens and ready to contribute to a more just and equitable society.
Throughout the year students, staff and families are offered many opportunities to share their time and resources with the disadvantaged and marginalised. Whether supporting Marist initiatives such as the project in East Timor, Caritas Australia or local organisations such as the Friday evening volunteers program at the Matthew Talbot Hostel, the community of St Joseph’s is exemplified through its spirit of unlimited generosity.
When questioned, Jesus told the disciples that he had come, ‘to bring life to the full’. It is our great hope that the opportunities offered to the boys throughout their time at Joeys will assist their understanding of the meaning of this gift for their own lives and its challenge to them to improve the lives of others.
Mark Street Hunters Hill NSW 2110 Australia | Tel. +61 2 9816 1044 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | CRICOS Number: 01369C