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In recent years some Downlands students have visited MSC communities in Sydney, Douglas Park and a visit to Chevalier College.


Senior Leaders’ Pilgrimage Experience

Mrs Anne McAtomney, Assistant Principal - Mission 

The annual Senior Leaders’ Pilgrimage and Formation Experience took place over the final weekend in February (21-25 February). Accompanied by Mr Morrison and myself, our eight leaders were able to visit places of Catholic and MSC significance in Sydney and at St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre at Douglas Park, approximately 70kms South-west of Sydney, with this latter often referred to as ‘MSC heartland’. Never free of their backpacks, the students were required to navigate their way to Kensington MSC Monastery, St Mary’s Cathedral, Mary MacKillop Chapel, Treand House (Provincial House) in Coogee and across the Sydney Harbour Bridge while carrying each other's backpacks.

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En-route to Douglas Park for the Retreat phase of the pilgrimage, the group visited Chevalier MSC College, Bowral where they met and dined with Chevalier College Leaders. As for each year, this meeting is like the meeting of old family friends – instant connections around a common charism are formed, the conversation never stops and the students farewell each other somewhat reluctantly at the end of the visit.

All along the way, the Leaders were fortunate to enjoy wonderful welcome and warm hospitality at Kensington, at St Mary’s Towers and at Treand House where Fr Frank Dineen MSC celebrated Eucharist before inviting all to share the evening meal and tour the historic house.

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We view this pilgrimage as integral to the students’ ability to ‘lead’ in the way that is expected of them in an MSC school. Certainly, the students themselves would say that the days away are/were critical in forming them as leaders who are able to understand, live and articulate the MSC charism as they move through Year 12.

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