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Dadirri resonates with Ignatian spirituality


Senior Australian of the Year, Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM, spoke about ‘Dadirri’ to 200 St Ignatius’ College staff at their annual Ignatian formation day held at Sevenhill.

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The renowned artist and Catholic educator is the grandmother of Year 7 student Montanna Page-Marranya and is well known to the college through the Jarrumwani immersion trips to Daly River where Miriam-Rose was principal of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School, Nauiyu.

Since her retirement she has continued her involvement with the immersion experience through the Miriam Rose Foundation, welcoming students to her Country and sharing her vast knowledge of her people and the Daly River region.

With the college celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and the ‘Ignatian Year’ being held from May 2021 to mark the conversion 500 years ago of St Ignatius, the day was also an opportunity for staff to hear from Emertius Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ about the history of the Jesuit Mission in Australia.

Principal Peter Coffey said when the college was first established and for much of its early years the Ignatian character was easily identifiable because almost all the staff were Jesuit priests or brothers.

“We live in a vastly different circumstance now,” he said.

“Whilst we are greatly blessed to have two Jesuits on staff in our rector, Father Hosking, and teacher, Father Kieran Gill, and our relationship with the Jesuit parish at Norwood under Father Mullins is as strong as ever, we have to act far more intentionally with all our lay staff if we are to maintain our identity as a Catholic school in the Ignatian tradition.”

Head of Junior School, Nic Boys, said it was a privilege to have Miriam-Rose as one of the key presenters.

He described her as a “national treasure who advocates cultural understanding of First Nations People”.

“Her message to the staff was powerful, gifting us with the pragmatic wisdom of Dadirri,” Mr Boys said.

“Translated as ‘deep water sounds’, it emphasises listening deeply to our inner spring.

“This gift she spoke of is in all of us, but in our western construct, society is so busy it becomes hard for us to listen deeply.

“Deep listening in this way promotes self-awareness and awareness of our relationships with others.”


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