Joeys Reflection Day

Posted on February 17, 2021

Reflection Day welcomes Year seven boys to the Joeys community and introduces them to the wonderful Marist traditions that underpin College life. It is a memorable occasion for every student who passes through St Joseph’s College gates, as it teaches him values that will last a lifetime. 

Mrs Lesley Maher, Head of Mission, says Reflection Day “helps their understanding of what it means to be a Joe-boy in a Catholic school in the Marist tradition”. 

At the Brother Emilian Hall, the boys were divided into 14 groups guided by a Year 12 liturgical leader and given “icebreaker” exercises to get to know each other. Their first task was defining what a Joeys Boy is. On a large piece of cardboard, students were asked to fill in an outline of a boy with what they thought were the essential Joeys traits. Their answers were as varied as the colourful House T-shirts they were wearing, but a common theme of respectfulness, honesty, faith, hard-work and tolerance soon emerged. This was aligned with a recognition that the school’s motto – “Strive for better things” – goes to the core of how Joeys boys should approach life. 

The second session, delivered by Mrs Anna Nasr, focused on the history of the Marist community from its 19thCentury inception in rural France, to its 21st Century manifestation as a provider of education across the world. She identified the five Marist characteristics of simplicity, way of Mary, family, presence and love of work and explained their relevance to the boys’ lives and how their can make them better people.

Their new knowledge was reinforced by a treasure hunt that located evidence of those characteristics within the College walls. Working with their Year 12 liturgical leader, each group was given a clue related to a Marist principle and asked to photograph themselves at the locations of the answer before returning to the Circular Lawn to have their group “passport” stamped. It was a fun and stimulating way to instil in the boys a sense of the Marist spirit that symbolises the College’s mission.

Day boy James Bruen from Curl Curl, felt the treasure hunt was an enjoyable experience. “I picked the first clue, and it was ‘The Mother of Jesus’, and we knew there were statues of her inside and on top of the main building. Then when we found them, we took a selfie. It brought home to me the Marist value “in the way of Mary” and how Mary raised Jesus and was caring.”

Oliver Milton from Annandale said the clue he picked out – “Although not his real father, he was a big part in Jesus’s life” – emphasised the Marist value of family. “We knew that was Joseph so we went and looked for the statue of Joseph. Joseph was important in Jesus’s upbringing and was part of his family.” 

A highlight of the pre-lunch session was former deputy headmaster Br Anthony Boyd’s entertaining talk and slide show on the 140-year history of Joeys, revealing interesting details such as the site of the old handball courts and how the placement of the Mary statue on the cupola in 1904 miraculously coincided with Joeys first rugby union premiership. 

He also widened the definition of what it means to be a Joeys boy, reminding students that they should always care for each other and respectfully welcome everyone at College by looking them in the eye and giving a warm greeting.

The day was capped with a special “Reception of Bibles” Mass in which each boy was given his own Bible by Headmaster Mr Tarlinton. He stressed the Bible’s fundamental relationship with St Joseph’s and everything that goes on in the College, and urged students to always consult and learn from it. Father Gavin Foster spoke about the character of Jesus and challenged the boys to follow his teachings. He quizzed them individually on what they thought Christ’s attributes as a person were, and their responses included “thoughtful”, “loving”, “brave” and “humble”.

“I plan to read a bit of the Bible every weekend,” James Brewin said afterwards.

Fellow classmate Oliver Milton was also keen to start reading. He said Reflection Day has made him feel more appreciative of his faith and its connection with Joeys.  

“I learnt the Marist values and how it’s important to be a good Christian and walk in the foot-steps of Jesus. “It was a really good thing to do, and it was great to have the help of the Year 12 liturgical leaders.”