Dominican Education Australia takes its vision from the inspiration of Jesus Christ in the spirit of St Dominic. It will continue to build on the grace and traditions of each of the three founding Congregations, the Dominican Sisters of North Adelaide, the Holy Cross Congregation of Dominican Sisters and the Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus provided a critical touchstone for St Dominic, as it has for all Christians in all times and places. It is to the story of Jesus that today’s Dominicans must look as they seek to give new life to the story of Dominic in their own time.
Dominic was a man of prayer and deep faith. Attentive to the Word of God, he brought scripture into dialogue with religious and political systems, seeking to find for the people of his own time a pathway into greater truth and justice. He was an astute reader of the social context of his thirteenth century world. Dominic’s unique preaching of the Gospel has continued to inform and inspire his followers for 800 years.
When the three founding Dominican Congregations were established in the nineteenth century in Australia, their focus was to respond to the education needs of the growing Catholic population. While the Dominican Sisters answered this need for well over 100 years, there are now new ways of responding that invite collaboration with others who are also deeply imbued with the Dominican tradition, ethos and values. Today, through the establishment of Dominican Education Australia, many competent and professional men and women, lay and religious, work together to continue to express Christ’s Vision and Mission within the Catholic, Dominican tradition.
The traditions, values and ethos that comprise the Dominican charism emanated from ‘the graced life of Dominic’. At its heart, the Dominican charism is characterized by the energetic, purposeful and dynamic search for truth (veritas), which emerges from thoughtful contemplation. The Dominican motto, ‘to contemplate and share with others the fruits of contemplation’ underlines the fact that the Dominican charism is a living tradition, alive and continuing to evolve.
As Dominicans, we recognise that the search for truth leads us to a personal graced encounter with the God who is our centre. Dominican educators strive to inspire students to wakefulness, a wakefulness to wonder and awe, to beauty and joy. Learners are challenged to discover the Holy One in our world, and to recognise the innate dignity and creativity of each person. Such qualities are intrinsic to the Dominican tradition and encourage an eagerness to pursue the search for truth. Dominican educators are weavers of the thread of the tapestry that creates the ongoing Dominican story.
The mission of Dominican Education Australia is to nurture Dominican education ministries. Its purpose is to create safe, inclusive places of excellence in teaching and learning in the Catholic, Dominican tradition. The Dominican schools, colleges and centres are supported as they shape their identity as Catholic schools, and as they nurture the spirituality of their students through faith formation, prayer and liturgy. Learners are engaged in a holistic curriculum, facilitated by competent professionals and supported by contemporary pedagogy. DEA aspires to support effective leadership, a leadership that builds the capacity of staff and students to be creative and critical learners who will become discerning and engaged members of community.
Dominican education ministries will be communities defined and characterised by:
- love for the Creator and respect and care for all works of creation;
- a strong Catholic identity and practice of Christian values in the spirit of the Gospel;
- a search for truth and the pursuit of excellence in learning;
- a philosophy of education that respects the uniqueness of each individual and understands the role of teacher as an enabler of students’ learning;
- a commitment to responding to issues of peace and justice through critical reflection and action;
- a commitment to marginalised and vulnerable students, especially to those with a range of different needs.