Verity and Virtue
“Undertake no employment which you cannot hope to complete with honour.”
It is my pleasure to introduce you to our first Loreto Ministries Newsletter. In a time where the need to connect and communicate with one another is ever so prevalent; it seems timely that we launch this bi-annual publication.
I am privileged in my position to work with a team of thoroughly skilled and committed individuals who demonstrate a love for and dedication to their roles that is unparalleled. Through this newsletter we aim to keep you informed of the accomplishments and endeavours of the various divisions that form Loreto Ministries, in a way that is educational, thought provoking, uplifting and engaging.
The first half of 2020 has seen the entire Loreto Network come together, although physically distanced and in many cases working from home, in ways that truly represent the charism and values of our foundress, Mary Ward. In returning to your own places of work and previous routines, I hope that you and those you love are keeping well amidst what is a persistently turbulent time. Recently, Loreto Ministries Director of Mission, Anne Muirhead, asked the Loreto Ministries team to reflect on how COVID-19 has moved them personally. It was overwhelming to hear a range of responses that highlighted such depth of understanding surrounding human connection, social justice, and compassion. I encourage each of you to reflect on the same question, and in doing so, may you be sparked with the same understandings and desires to do good and do it well.
We recognise the good that has been done by so many of those within our Network, from our Sisters in the field supporting those most in need, to our Principals and staff who have cared so much for their broad communities and utilised the internet as an educational resource with such stunning competence; from our Board Chairs and Directors who have shared their wisdom and guidance, to each member of our Loreto Ministries team who have demonstrated commitment, adaptability, strength, and professionalism. I commend Margaret Kennedy, Board Chair of Loreto Ministries, for transitioning into her role and navigating this uncertain period with such composure and integrity. Margaret has already chaired a number of meetings this year in an effort to support our Loreto schools throughout this period by keeping plans moving forward.
This online world that has become our new reality has opened the doors to so many possibilities; could virtual classrooms now give a disadvantaged child the opportunity to learn? Could newly developed online programs be translated into Vietnamese and utilised as a learning tool in our work with schools through Loreto Vietnam? Whatever it may be, may our minds and spirits be open to what good can come from such a challenging situation.
Our Loreto Vietnam team are true missionaries constantly seeking opportunities to do good. Since returning to work, Loreto Vietnam has been running community development programs and opening some parts of school libraries to the local community after hours to encourage learning and stimulation. The team have also been integrating STEM programs into their learning approach, cementing their dedication to drive Sustainable Development Goal 4 ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. The SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030 and underpin the work of Loreto Vietnam and our partners/friends at Mary Ward International Australia.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has not just been a health crisis, but has had an impact on the psychological wellbeing of everyone. Governments at state and national level recognise the critical role that access to effective support plays for people throughout such challenging times. In a recent article written by clinical neuropsychologist, Dr Cara Wong, titled Flattening the next Curve, the long-term effects of mental illness, trauma, burnout and economic damage are emphasised along with the importance of prioritising ways to prevent the long-term mental health burden. I realise just how critical it is for our wellbeing to share our anxieties and needs with a trusted colleague or friend and/or with those professionally trained. For children and young people, the mental health issues as a result of COVID 19 could be lifelong. It is imperative that open discussion, caring support and professional help is engaged if needed for both young people and their parents.
In this Loreto Year of Verity, with its many challenges and ongoing questions, let us remain true to ourselves as we continue the mission of our foundress Mary Ward who eternally guides us in our work.
“act not out of fear, but solely out of love because we are called by God to a vocation of love.”
CEO, Loreto Ministries