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As a Loreto community, we celebrated a heartfelt Mass yesterday morning to commemorate 125 years since Mother Gonzaga Barry and her companions came to Western Australia in 1897. Sister Margie O’Sullivan read the letter below in place of the First Reading as we reflected on the hard work and dedication of the sisters as they founded many Catholic schools in Western Australia, including Loreto Nedlands. As we look back at our history, I think this letter assures us that we can keep our long-term hopes and aspirations in our hearts – even when it may seem impossible that they succeed. If the Loreto sisters were discouraged by every setback or disappointment in their teaching vocation, we wouldn’t be here in our beautiful school today!

This reading is from a Letter from Mother Mary Gonzaga Barry to the Loreto community of Australia, first published in Eucalyptus Blossoms in 1898:

Dear children, permit me to moralise a little – when you have made up your mind to do a good thing, useful to others perhaps as well as to yourself, don’t be discouraged and give it all up, because you cannot immediately carry out your good intentions, or because unforeseen obstacles come in your way; no, on the contrary, wait, pray, try to improve by thoughtful consideration your original plan, and probably you will find it all the better for the delay. In any case you cannot fail to be the gainer by practising patience and self-control, instead of fretfully murmuring against things which will not move out of your way and allow you to march on towards the desired goal. Remember the failure of many of our dearest hopes will appear as successes when seen in the light of eternity.

Katie Sharman, Mission Co-Ordinator, Loreto Nedlands