St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic College in Drury will be putting New Zealand on the Jesuit global map of schools when the college opens next year.
This was the hope mentioned by deputy principal Catherine Bamber-O’Malley, in her report on her meeting with Jesuit superior-general Fr Arturo Sosa, in Rome during the Easter holidays.
Ms Bamber-O’Malley was invited to a private dinner with Fr Sosa, provincial for Asia Pacific Fr José Magadia, SJ, and education specialist with Jesuit Refugee Service Fr David Holdcroft, SJ.
“This would be an important moment in the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Catholic College, as it was an opportunity to formally thank the superior-general and the Jesuit family for the gift of the Ignatian charism for our new school,” she said. “It would mark another important step in our growing relationship with the Society of Jesus here in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
A high demand for entrance into the school saw the college closing its applications on February 17. The college also announced that expressions of interest for school year 2025 can be done on its website.
“We are blessed that the Jesuit order and Jesuit Education Australia have really embraced the foundation of the first Catholic Ignatian college in New Zealand. They are very supportive, and we look forward to the presence of the order at the college when we open in 2024,” said principal Dean Wearmouth.
Ms Bamber-O’Malley said that, when she entered the Jesuit Curia, she was struck by the large map on the wall which identified more than 2300 Jesuit schools around the world.
“What was striking to me was, there was no school (yet!) in New Zealand on the map,” she said.
She said that the three Jesuit priests were “keen to hear about the families that our school will serve”.
“Father Arturo was particularly keen to hear about our students as culturally located, and our partnership with Manawhenua iwi, Ngaati Te Ata Waiohua and Ngaati Tamaoho,” she said.
“I was able to tell him about all the wonderful families and students that we have met during our enrolment interviews, and the many gifts and talents you will bring to our school.”
She also highlighted the cultural diversity of the students of the college, which reflects the diversity of New Zealand society.
Ms Bamber-O’Malley said that they presented Fr Sosa with a pounamu carved into a Kopae, which represented the beginnings of the Ignatian school in New Zealand.
“In presenting this gift, I was reminded again how significant the opening of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Catholic College is,” she said.
“Through the support of the Diocese of Auckland, and in partnership with the Jesuits, we become part of something much bigger than ourselves, and become part of a story and a network of schools across the world with a deep and rich history. We become part of an international community who seek to find God in all things.”