Catholic Identity & Mission

Our School Motto

'In all things love'

Mary MacKillop

Mary’s influence on education and bringing God to the people, especially the poor, is one of the most remarkable stories in Australian history. 

Mary MacKillop remains the only Australian Saint. Yet she was an ordinary person who had a deep love for God, a deep love for people, and a deep love for the poor.

Mary believed that education sets a person free, and she believed that Catholic children should learn about their Catholic faith through both their parents and in school.

Although Mary wanted to care for the poor and the marginalised, she welcomed all and she befriended people at different levels of society.

Our values

As a school community, we value:

As a Josephite school we follow in Mary’s footsteps, and are motivated by her tradition. Tradition is the lived expression of the values that inspired St Mary MacKillop and the Josephite sisters in the past and the way these are now expressed by us in today’s world.

Where do these values come from?

The values come from the Gospel. Mary MacKillop interpreted the stories of Jesus in the Gospel and applied them in her life, in her words and actions. Her determination to do so, often at her own detriment, is today one of the most amazing Australian stories. A story born in South Australia and one that has been told over and over, Mary's story will continue to influence generations to come.

Our school community is fortunate to be part of this story and, therefore we are part of Mary MacKillop’s legacy. The Josephite Tradition is alive within our school.

Being part of a Josephite Tradition means that...

We are a welcoming, inclusive, compassionate community.

Mary MacKillop believed that the compassionate love of God was available to all she met. Mary Mackillop had a compassionate heart, big enough to embrace all of humanity. No one was excluded.

Today in our school community we do the same. We welcome families from all cultures and all religious backgrounds, of all socio-economic backgrounds and support every child's needs.

We promote compassion and empathy amongst our children through the ‘Mary MacKillop Awards’. The awards recognise children who do extraordinary acts on an ordinary day who show compassion towards others.

As a community everyone is treated with dignity.

Mary Mackillop believed that God, in Jesus, called her and her sisters to show reverence for the dignity of all people. Mary MacKillop’s reverence for all people meant she was incapable of ’giving up’ on anyone.

Today in our school community we support families in a variety of ways including those who are experiencing financial difficulties. We are all in this together.

As a community we most support the people who are poor and marginalised.

For Mary MacKillop, those who were the ‘neediest’ in our world came first. Mary Mackillop and her order of sisters established 'bush schools' and later as needs arose, orphanages, refuges, and other services for those most vulnerable in the society of their time. Mary MacKillop was an extraordinary woman of action and her response and that of the Josephite sisters was a practical one. Small acts upon small acts made a big difference.

Today in our school community we teach children to have respect for all: self, others and the world. We help students grow into people who have a sense of the 'common good' in our society. We teach them to use their gifts and talents to support people who are in need. We do this through Project Compassion, St Vincent de Paul and Mini Vinnies, Catholic Mission, the Cancer Council and more.

We serve others.

Mary MacKillop interpreted the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples as an act of service. Consequently, Mary MacKillop and the Sisters were the first order who did not live behind the walls of a convent. Instead, they lived in groups of 3 or 4 in small houses and lived amongst their community, establishing schools and moving to communities that needed support. Everything that Mary MacKillop did was to benefit and support others.

At St Joseph’s School Barmera, we are committed to serving our community with caring hearts and providing the greatest care possible for all our students, our school families and for each other. Everything we do is to benefit the students, who are the heart of all that we do.

We have strength, courage, and perseverance.

Although Mary MacKillop was a woman of faith and remarkably determined to maintain her core values regardless of the circumstances, it still meant that some people were not pleased with her actions. In fact, at one stage, she was excommunicated from the Church. During many moments of conflict she never deviated from her core values and never spoke ill of others, even if they were great cause of grief.

Today in our school community we teach children the Gospel values love, justice, forgiveness, compassion, and dignity to be a compass throughout life. These values embedded in the character of a person will act like the strong roots of a tree.  It does not matter what winds or storms will come throughout life, these roots will keep them steady and in place.