The community at Loyola Senior High School, Mt Druitt, NSW, welcomed various Jesuit and Ignatian companion schools from all around Australia to the 8th Annual Ignatian Student Leadership Conference.
Aside from Xavier College, Kew (who were unable to attend due to a clash), all of the Jesuit and Ignatian companion schools of Australia sent two to four student leaders to participate in the conference.
This was also the first occasion where Xavier Catholic College, Ballina, who recently joined the Province’s network of schools, was in attendance.
The conference was an opportunity for students to share their ideas, deepen their awareness of the Jesuits and their mission, and to ultimately form a better understanding on what it is like to be a Christian leader.
During the conference there were countless opportunities for the student leaders to reflect on their deepest desires for their schools and for themselves.
On 27 November, guests took part in a welcoming activity and a tour of the host school, and attended a presentation by Jennie Hickey, Province Delegate for Education and Social Ministries, on the work of the Jesuits.
This allowed student leaders to have a visual representation of how widespread the Jesuit community is, and enabled students to realise how Jesuits are involved in the world. The day ended with a Mass lead by Fr Brendan Kelly SJ.
On the second day David Hammond from Jesuit Social Services spoke about the work of that organisation, providing information on how we can change an individual’s life. He talked about his own experiences, and suggested ways that links could be made between Jesuit Social Services and school communities.
On the final day of the conference, Fr Trung Nguyen SJ introduced the student leaders to Jesuit Mission Australia. Fr Trung spoke about the many countries the Jesuits support in the world. He shared images of children from the developing world countries and how the Jesuits affected their lives positively.
He also provided information on how schools and students could be involved in these missions by travelling to these countries and providing service.
During the three days Walker Aloiai and Usufono Taefu from Young Christian Workers planned activities and games that involved all the leaders in order to create bonds and reflect.
This led to the most important activity, ‘The Review of Life’, where we were given ‘see’ (experience), ‘judge’ (reflection) and ‘action’ (action and evaluation) questions based on the presentations we viewed.
These questions allowed the leaders to reflect on their new perspectives and to begin planning how they desire to implement these services in their schools.
The conference was attended by students and teachers from Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview; Saint Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point; Saint Ignatius College, Geelong; Loyola College, Watsonia; John XXIII College, Claremont; Xavier Catholic College, Ballina; Xavier Catholic College, Hervey Bay; and Saint Ignatius’ College, Adelaide.