Catholic Special Character
St Mary’s is a Catholic school, our Catholic Special Character is the essence for our school's existence and the beliefs of Catholic Christians are inherent in all facets of our daily lives.
The Charism of the Sisters of Mercy
In Christian theology, a "Charism" ( from the Greek ), denotes any good gift that flows from God's love to humans. The word can also mean any of the spiritual graces and qualifications granted to every Christian to perform his or her task in the church.
While the Sisters of Mercy were not the founders of St Mary's, this honour fell to a lay teacher; Miss Katherine McLachlan, they were the stewards of the school for over eighty years. The Sisters of Mercy's Charism is based on five key values:
Care For The Poor And Vulnerable.
We have since adapted these to form our school values which are:
Respect Compassion Service Justice Care
Each day starts with prayer in the classrooms ( children also pray at other key times during the day, i.e. grace before lunch and at the end of the day) and the children are given instruction and encouraged to ensure that meaningful prayer becomes a part of their daily lives.
Religious Education is taught at all class levels, the programme that we teach in our school is the official programme as per the "Religious Education Curriculum Statement For Catholic schools in Aotearoa New Zealand".
An outline of the programme is found in a document called ‘The Family-Whanau Book’ covering the programme and how you can help at home, it is an expectation that all families possess this document, they are given to all families on the successful enrolment of their first child.
Our Mercy Charism In Our School
Our Mercy Charism is visible in our school:
Physically by bookmarks, larger versions of these hang in all of the class rooms and other common areas; by the attitudes and focus of pupils around our school and by the attitudes of the staff and parents.
Our Charism is a continuing focus but we especially concentrate on it at the beginning and end of year school Masses and our founders day, we have over the past years had Sisters of Mercy into the school to speak at these celebrations as representatives of the Sisters and as a link to the past.
We focus on the Mercy values during our Whanau* time:
every second Friday afternoon. Here our senior pupils facilitate a learning experience, planned school wide by a teacher, on one of our mercy values. We also support this learning during class time.
* All pupils are grouped into Whanau or houses, each Whanau has representatives from all classes and all age groups. The Whanau are each named after a New Zealand indigenous bird.