St Madeleine Sophie would have approved of Sorry Day being so close to her Feast Day, but it does mean that we gather for two significant liturgies on consecutive days at Stuartholme. On Thursday we gathered in the Chapel for a prayerful Mass in honour of Sophie followed by celebrations on the Oval. The following day, we gathered again in a more solemn mood for our annual National Sorry Day Liturgy.
Our Liturgy was introduced by reminding us of its special significance this year.
“In 2017, we reflect on two significant anniversaries in Australia’s reconciliation journey – 50 years since the 1967 referendum, and 25 years since the historic Mabo decision. Today, Friday, 26th May, we take the time to recognise that reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, in the knowledge that we believe in fairness for everyone, that our diversity makes us richer, and that together, we are stronger. We are called , as the theme of Reconciliation Week suggests, to ‘Take the Next Steps’ together.”
Our indigenous students led the liturgy with acknowledgement of Country, introducing themselves according to their Aboriginal lineage. This year two of them shared moving stories of their grandparents’ experiences as members of the stolen generation. We were privileged to have Dr Chelsea Bond, a Munahjahli and South Sea Islander health researcher and National NAIDOC scholar of the year, to speak to us about the significance of this day. Then each of our indigenous students spoke of their hopes for the future.
“For the times we have not recognised the importance of reconciliation for all Australians, and worked to see it realised in our minds, hearts and actions” With the words “We say sorry” we all took a “next step” towards the centre. We ended our liturgy by joining hands and reciting the Lord’s Prayer together.
Our indigenous students, their invited guests, and some staff members then gathered in the Australian Room for a celebratory morning tea.
Rita Carroll, RSCJ