Nurturing a sense of vocation

The recent Colloquium offered teachers the chance to explore the ministry
of teaching, as well as the respective journeys of each participant.


“As educators, you are called to nurture the desire for truth, goodness and beauty that lies in the heart of each individual, so that all may learn how to love life and be open to the fullness of life,” said Pope Francis in April 2022. 

The Colloquium on the Ministry of Teaching for 2024 was conducted in the beautiful surrounds of Mary MacKillop Place from 19-21 May. This was the first time in many years that we had returned to North Sydney, an appropriate and sacred place that reminds us of the strong connection between the Jesuits and Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop.   

The Colloquium offers teachers who have had ten or more years’ experience the chance to explore the ministry of teaching and the journey each teacher has had throughout this time. The heart of this experience is for teachers to arrive at the following insight: We must nurture our sense of vocation through journaling, reflection, sharing and testimony lest it diminish over the years.  

The Colloquium, which literally means “to talk with and to one another”, offers staff teaching within our Jesuit and Companion school network an opportunity to reflect on their vocation and to reinvigorate their commitment and vision. It is important, not just for the few days in themselves, but for what it initiates. The program provides a clear vision of what our schools can become, while forming staff members who are committed to shaping our schools in line with that vision. Thus, it provides the space for individual teachers to reflect on their personal ministry, the mission of their respective schools and their contribution to Catholic education, in the Jesuit and Ignatian tradition in Australia. 

There were 15 participants from the following schools: Xavier Catholic College, Ballina; Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview; St Aloysius’ College, Milson Point; Loyola College, Watsonia; Xavier College, Kew; Saint Ignatius College, Geelong; and Saint Ignatius’ College, Adelaide. 

The feedback from some of this year’s participants said a lot: 

  • “This has been the most incredible couple of days exploring a ministry set deep in the heart of teaching. I have expanded my knowledge, learnt from incredible professionals, and had the most engaging conversations with insightful people.” 
  • “I leave here feeling energised, reflecting on my practice and looking for ways this could be done better, while acknowledging the good things already being done.” 
  • “I am far more confident in finding images of God within my ministry of teaching.” 
  • “I am resolved to be more present and aware of God’s presence in my life.” 
  • “I am grateful to work in a school that gives me time to reflect and renew my focus on what’s important.” 

As facilitators, we are most grateful and acknowledge the support of the participating schools for committing to the program and sponsoring staff to attend. The team were delighted by the enthusiasm with which this year’s group embraced and engaged in the program. There was a real sense of collegiality as the group shared their context and thoughts.  

Colloquium facilitators: Marie Hogan, Sharon McLean, Joe El-Khoury and Michael Tod.