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Cardijn group on Outback immersion

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A group of students and staff from Cardijn College recently had a unique experience immersing themselves in a remote South Australian community with a focus on the Outback and local Indigenous peoples.

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The eight-day immersion trip to Coober Pedy was coordinated by Tony Johnston, Diocesan director for Catholic Mission in Adelaide, and parish priest Fr Paul Crotty.

Cardijn Mission Engagement teacher Tahlia Sully said it was a privilege to work alongside an organisation like Catholic Mission which upholds similar values to Cardijn College and its commitment to Joseph Cardijn’s See, Judge and Act methodology.

“Through this immersion with Catholic Mission, we were able to provide an opportunity for experiencing and expressing faith, for personal growth, and to contribute to society through the service of others,” she said.

“We are incredibly grateful for those at Catholic Mission and all they did for us.”

The group of 11 students from Years 10-12, old scholar Sisilina Saukuru from the Young Christian Workers, APRIM Joseph Catania and Tahlia were accompanied by Mr Johnston and facilitator Dave Muller.

After a night at Pichi Richi Park in the Flinders Ranges, the group travelled to Coober Pedy from where they visited Lake Hart, Mount Barry Station, the opal fields and the Breakaways. A highlight was spending time at the Umoona Health Centre where local Indigenous people shared their stories and cultural traditions including singing and painting.

Students with children at the Umoona Health Centre.

Students with children at the Umoona Health Centre.

“Alongside the beautiful landscapes and fascinating history it was the people we met and the stories we heard that really made this experience life-giving,” Tahlia said.

“We learnt a lot about the community and ourselves during our time on this immersion. The locals were also grateful for us – news quickly spread that we were in town and on many occasions they volunteered to join us in our adventures.”

Year 12 student and Cardijn mission captain Brooke Lovett said having a first-hand experience of “the value of human connection and genuine interaction” was something that would stay with her for years to come.

“A simple conversation can change someone’s day and the act of acknowledging a person as simply being human rather than what society has deemed them to be through stereotypes, racism, or any point of difference, can change someone’s perspective for life,” she said.

Year 10 student Jasmine Abbott said she gained many life lessons such as “the importance of living in the moment, being your authentic self, and keeping a clear and conscious mind”.

“This trip also taught me about how much of an impact the community and people that you surround yourself with can have on your wellbeing along with your daily life,” she said.

“My highlight of the trip to Coober Pedy was the lifelong relationships that I was able to build with the participants of the immersion along with the people that we met along the way.”

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