Newsletter 4 2020 - 27 Mar 2020
Message from the Principal

Message from the Principal

Who would have thought just two weeks ago that the whole complement of our students – over 1,100 – would be working remotely?

Who would have imagined that our staff would have had to completely reimagine their teaching practice? 

Who could have imagined?

Everywhere we turn – in the press, or on social media – COVID-19 images and statistics accost our senses. This increases our fear and sense of being overwhelmed – of not having any control.

During times of heightened fear and anxiety, it can be useful to put things into perspective.

I am grateful to one of my parents who shared the following graphic with me, highlighting the need to focus not on what we cannot control or change – but on what we can control. 

We are still a community

Despite how much we may love being part of a community, schools are complex and challenging places at the best of times and now more so than ever.

At St Ursula’s, we have been able to transition to this new way of working calmly and purposefully.

To our advantage, we have our students’ skills and natural curiosity for learning and the staff’s creative reimagining of the curriculum and capacity to learn quickly. Making use of new tools to engage with our students, we are confident that learning will continue, no matter the circumstances. Thus, we can feel a sense of control in this domain.

It is learning as usual at St Ursula’s – just not in Caroline Street for all of our students right now. 

Our College is much more than just great learning

We are a College built on quality relationships and a genuine concern for the wellbeing of each member of our community.

Wellbeing is the key word

At this time, I have no doubt that students, their families and our staff may be feeling a sense of loss. I miss my morning routine of greeting girls at the front door, or when I am walking through the playground, or saying goodbye to them in the afternoon.

We take for granted how good our College is at nurturing quality relationships; at giving people a sense of belonging. It’s the small things, like a smile or a shared joke. We miss being able to do these things in person. Even more so, in these different times, we must all find ways to keep those relationships going; to make sure people still feel they are part of this living community, by ensuring we are looking after each others’ wellbeing! 

This is our collective commitment – yours and ours –  to the wellbeing of others.

Serviam advocates service to others with kindness and compassion. Our Year 9 value of Unite has never been more important than it is in these unprecedented times.

As adults, we need to reaffirm and reassure our young people that they do belong to a community. We need to ensure that they still feel connected to their friends and their school. Thus, opportunities to chat to friends or to interact using Zoom and other tools are wonderful ways to ensure they feel they have control.

You may find that your daughter’s behaviour changes, because she is used to learning and being in a very social environment with her peers.

What she needs right now is to feel comforted and loved; to feel like it is going to be OK. On some days, as the people who will be closest to them each day, this may mean you telling them to turn off the computer, to take a break, go for a walk, or just chill. Your role as their parents and carers will be critical, so that they don’t become overwhelmed. 

Together, we will get though this challenge. We will no doubt come out the other end having learnt many valuable and life-changing lessons.  

God bless you and each of your loved ones and I pray you keep safe and well.

Mary Leask
Not all superheroes have capes – some have teaching degrees

Not all superheroes have capes – some have teaching degrees

We all have our career kryptonite but St Ursula’s staff have proven in the past week that not even a pandemic can prevent them from supporting their students.

Teachers and support staff have moved swiftly to overcome the challenges of remote learning, and the gratitude expressed by our students and parents has really brightened our spirits!

Over the next few weeks, you will see our superhero staff flying into your Facebook feed to offer you tips and encouragement as you navigate the brave new world of remote learning.

If you aren’t yet following our Facebook page, you can do so here.

Melanie Ridout
Marketing and Communications Officer
Mass goes online for social distancing

Mass goes online for social distancing

We are facing a strange new world.

For the first time in most of our lifetimes, we cannot go to church and worship at the table of the Lord. While this is sad, it is necessary to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, our priests and ourselves.

A dispensation from attending is currently granted and Catholics can fulfil their Sunday Mass obligation by setting aside time for prayer at home, reading the Scriptures and attending Mass on television or online. For more information, I encourage you to read the Archbishop’s statement of 23 March.

Online resources

To assist families, I have listed below a number of resources currently on offer:

This one now has Daily Mass videos from Bishop Baron in the US.

You can also download an app with the Catholic Missal on Google Play:

Mass in your home
  • In an Australian, context you can access Mass live streamed from St Mary’s Cathedral Daily at 5.30pm


  • Sunday Mass at the Cathedral will be live streamed at 10.30 am – Archbishop Fisher will be celebrating this Mass privately. 


  • Fr Rob Galea is also live streaming Mass at home on his channel on Sundays


  • Brisbane Archdiocese is also live streaming Mass on their website on Sundays and feast days.


  • Many parishes are also offering live streamed Mass – please check your parish website.
  • You can also watch on free to air TV Mass for you at Home on channel 10 at 6.00 am each Sunday. This is also available for families on FOXTEL on the Aurora channel at 10.00 am.

Please be assured that even if your priest cannot celebrate Mass with you during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are celebrating Mass for you – and we thank God for all of their work!

Julie Monk
Religious Education Coordinator
Removing the ties that bind us: a reflection on Lazarus

Removing the ties that bind us: a reflection on Lazarus

This Sunday, we reflect on the Raising of Lazarus, found in John’s Gospel.

In the Gospel it says “Jesus wept”. Just two little words carry a world of emotion and speak volumes about Jesus. The verse highlights both Jesus’ humanity (he wept for the death of his friend); but also his divinity (Jesus raised Lazarus to life).

Removing the ties that bind us

To see a man bound up for burial suddenly come walking from his tomb must have been unnerving. However, Jesus calmly commands the astonished onlookers to “unbind him, let him go free”. These words speak to us today. as we come to the end of the Lenten season and approach the celebration of Easter. What are the things that ‘bind’ us? From what do we need to be released so that we may ‘go free’? 

A turning point in the Gospel

The raising of Lazarus marks a turning point in the Gospel of John. Chapter 11 concludes with the Jewish authorities plotting to arrest Jesus and then Chapter 12 begins the final week of Jesus’ life in Jerusalem. In the Gospel of John, it is the episode with Lazarus that signs Jesus’ death warrant. Jesus gives up his own life so that Lazarus may live.

Like Jesus, we are now called to sacrifice

Right now, we are being called to make sacrifices – certainly nothing like those of Jesus – but we are called to stay home; to socially distance; to make big changes so that others may live.

While it’s a great credit to our health system that Australia has only lost 13 lives, we all need to work to ensure more lives are not lost. It’s our Christian duty to do what we can. These are challenging times, but our faith and our love for each other will see us through.

God bless you and your families.

Stay safe!

Julie Monk
Religious Education Coordinator
College recognised for faith commitment

College recognised for faith commitment

I am pleased to share that our College has received  a Recognition Certificate for our efforts to further “the mission of the Church founded on faith in Jesus Christ” in 2019.

This certificate acknowledges our response to the Archbishop’s Charter; a document which helps schools reflect on how the mission of the Church can be lived out.

Originally, our Recognition Certificate was to be officially presented to our whole College community at a 27 March assembly. However, due to COVID-19, we are now unable to join together as a community to celebrate this achievement.

I have therefore included a copy of the 2019 Recognition Certificate and Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools here. They are also on permanent display in College reception.


Mary Leask




“We’re going on an egg hunt”

“We’re going on an egg hunt”

Our students haven’t let the challenges of social distancing rob them of Easter joy, as they report below:

“Today, during Period 2 Pastoral Care class, those students who are still attending the College campus gathered (with social distancing in mind) to create festive Easter baskets.

We used textas, pipe cleaners and little chickens to decorate our baskets.

We then proceeded to the Year 12 garden for an Easter egg hunt! 

Scavenging through the garden, we found many chocolate eggs in the bush and on top of boxes and gates. We then shared them among ourselves.

The teachers also brought out some appetising hot cross buns. There were two flavours: traditional cinnamon apple and chocolate. The hot cross buns were delicious and we all had a load of fun!

We are missing you all. Stay safe!”

Margaret Oszywa, Gianna Leifi & Alanah Quarta

Clancy Prize: student art awes

Clancy Prize: student art awes

We are very proud that three of our Year 12 2019 Visual Arts students had artworks selected for this year’s Clancy Prize exhibition, on display at the McGlade Gallery, Australian Catholic University (ACU).

Isabel Ray, Bridget Tesoreiro and Georgia Sansour attended the opening on 13 March, with Mrs Markas and Mrs Hayman.

The Clancy Prize is inspired by Cardinal Edward Clancy. This year’s theme was: Family love: A vocation and a path to holiness.

Georgia accepted one of three awards from ACU’s School of Education for her sculpture: Maison Home and Spiti, which depicted her ancestral homes in France, Australia and Greece.

Congratulations to each of our artists and their families!


Mary Hayman
Visual Arts Coordinator
Talented Year 11 student makes film debut

Talented Year 11 student makes film debut

A major metropolitan newspaper recently reported that Year 11’s Anna Chierchia is on a pathway into the world of script writing and acting. 

The Gifted is the first film the Roselands teenager has co-written and acted in, but is unlikely to be her last, The Daily Telegraph reports. 

The film was made with just $9,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign and was shot over three 10-hour weekends.

The 15 minute film has already received over 1,300 views and you can watch it now on YouTube.

If you’re a Daily Telegraph subscriber, you can read the article here, or else please enjoy it below.

Year 9 teach us how to be positive when times are tough

Year 9 teach us how to be positive when times are tough

With the world facing an unprecedented challenge right now, an optimistic mindset is needed more than ever.
Last week, our Year 9 students modeled this mindset during their pastoral care (PC) classes. They were challenged to unite with their peers to design positive mottos and slogans to match their PC group’s letter.
The overall winner was class 9A, which came up with the motto: “Always Admire Academic Ambition Actively!”
Congratulations to the girls.
Steve Baker
Year 9 Coordinator 


Year 9 geographers go into the wild

Year 9 geographers go into the wild

Our Year 9 geography students relished the chance to undertake hands-on fieldwork on a Minnamurra Rainforest excursion on 12 March.

They investigated changes that have occurred to the rainforest biome over time, as part of their study of sustainable biomes.

Activities on the day included:

  • Testing of water, soil, temperature, turbidity, humidity and light intensity to understand why rainforests grow in the places they do
  • A guided walk to identify flora and fauna and their adaptations to the rainforest biome and to understand how tourists can minimise their impact
  • A talk from local experts on the uses and threats of the Minnamurra Rainforest.
Lara Grimm
Assistant HSIE Coordinator