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Millicent builds on strong foundation


A year of celebrations kicked off in Millicent on February 7, as staff and students gathered for the opening ceremony for St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School’s 125 year anniversary.

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“We are celebrating 125 years, but it’s also about celebrating the school, Catholic education and the mercy charism that is carried on within the school,” said principal Liza Couzens.

“The whole school will be part of these celebrations.

“It’s about bringing our community back together and making it vibrant again after losing some of that during COVID.

“Community is very important to us; we offer education but we are keen to open our school up to everyone in the wider community. Everyone is invited to participate in these events. Everyone is welcome here.”

The year-long program includes a Mother’s Day High Tea with guest speakers on May 11, a whole of school Mass and veneration of the relic of St Anthony’s on June 19, and The Mercy Week Meet and Greet with the Sisters of Mercy, a film screening and a religious art exhibition (with pieces made by students) from September 14-29.

The program concludes with the Gala Weekend from October 18-20. The weekend will include a dinner, the unveiling of a commemorative walk, a closing Mass and the opening of a 25-year-old time capsule.

“We’re hoping to track down everybody who was involved 25 years ago, when the time capsule was sealed on February 4 1999,” Liza said.

“We haven’t touched it since. We’ll open the capsule and make a new one. Who knows when they’ll open that in the future.”

The Mercy Sisters established St Anthony’s and the foundation stone for the convent and school was laid on July 27 1898. The dedication of the Convent of St Anthony of Padua took place on February 1 1899 and the Convent of Mercy School, as it was known then, opened on February 4 1899.

In 1969, the school became St Anthony’s.

“Our motto is: ‘living, respect, justice and faith’. Each year we have a theme to focus on and this year it’s ‘building a brighter future’,” Liza said.

“To build a brighter future, you have to go back to your foundations and build on and acknowledge where you’ve come from. In terms of what we do, particularly with Catholic identity, is we go back to our Mercy charism, which was inspired by Catherine McAuley, who was inspired by Jesus.”


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