In 13th century Europe amidst turmoil, heresy, conformity and fear, Dominic de Guzman challenged the status quo, took risks, departed from the tradition of monasticism, encouraged learning and founded his Order of Preachers.
Dominic preached as Jesus had done, and studied so as to be well informed about the world. He founded the Order of Preachers who, after prayer and careful study, broke open the Word of God among the people in the market place. He chose Veritas – Truth, as the motto for his new religious order of friars and sisters. He challenged the lives of his followers “to contemplate and share the fruits of their contemplation”. The beginnings of Dominican educational philosophy were thus established.
The Dominican Sisters’ Foundation in Australia and Strathfield
- In 1867 a band of Irish Dominican Sisters continuing the ideals, beliefs and values of their founder took the great risk of leaving their beloved Ireland to establish the first Dominican foundation in Australia – in Maitland, NSW.
- In 1892, in answer to the needs of the city dwellers, the Maitland Dominican Sisters responded to the request of Cardinal Moran to establish a city boarding school.
- On 7 June 1892 two acres of land and Lindeman Lodge were purchased for the purpose of convent and school on The Boulevarde in Strathfield.
- On 9 January 1894 a pioneer group of six Sisters took up residence in the top floor of Rosary Lodge (Lindeman Lodge). Six students had their first classes in the downstairs rooms on 15 January 1894. The present “1894” administration building was opened on 15 April 1894 and later in the year three boarders joined the day pupils.
- With the assistance of ex-students of Maitland one of the Sisters’ first initiatives was to arrange an arbour day, on which they planted many of the silky oaks and trees that so distinguish the College environment today.
- In the ensuing years, the women of the school community created an educational environment of excellence and challenge. The school community today acknowledges the pioneering role played by these women in creating a school which won for itself a reputation as a leader in the education of the young.
- The founding Sisters at Santa Sabina provided for their students an education based on the spirituality and philosophy of Dominic. They hoped, as we do today, that the values learnt by the students would be carried beyond the school and that their graduates would be people who, with integrity, independence, courage and creativity would work for justice in the world
- This year, 2017, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Dominican Sisters in Australia.