As 2018 draws to a close, all our DEA Education Ministries are busy with the many end-of-year activities and events which celebrate Advent, the coming feast of Christmas and the achievements and successes of the past year. I have been finalising the Annual Stewardship Report which DEA must send to the Vatican each year, and it is with great pride that I have included a special report on the Social Justice and Outreach initiatives of DEA Education Ministries. It was difficult to do justice to the many areas in which students and staff participated and that supported their awareness and experience of the lives of the disadvantaged and marginalised.

In every one of the DEA Education Ministries, our students, from the very youngest to the oldest, learn about inclusiveness, justice, respect and kindness to others in a huge range of service-learning programs. They engage in listening and learning with local Indigenous community representatives, visit the elderly and lonely, serve the homeless in programs such as Vinnies, Night Patrol and meals programs, and collect food, clothing and other necessities for refugees and others in need, to give just a few examples. Our students and staff participate in Outreach and Immersion programs in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, South Africa and the Solomon Islands, and with indigenous communities in central and northern Australia. All of these service and immersion experiences reinforce the value of encouraging students to reflect on the lives of others, to broaden their horizons and their awareness and appreciation of the gifts, values and cultures of people different from themselves and to open their eyes to situations far beyond what they experience in their own lives.

Great credit must be given to the Boards and Leaders who promote and resource all these initiatives, and especially to the Assistant Principal Religious Identity and Mission (APRIMS) and Directors of Mission whose tireless work and passionate commitment support and facilitate the learning, engagement and participation of students and staff. DEA is also immensely grateful to Sr Sheila Flynn for her work over the past two years as the DEA Promoter of Mission and Identity in enlivening and supporting this important work. Sr Sheila will be leaving DEA at the end of this year, but I am sure that she will continue to be a wonderful presence in DEA Ministries in the future.

It is with a great deal of sadness that I announce that I will be retiring as Chair and as a Director of Dominican Education Australia at the end of this year. I have greatly valued and enjoyed around 24 years of passionate commitment and dedication in the service of the Dominican Charism and its expression in the Mission of the fine Dominican Schools now governed by DEA. For 12 years I served as a Director and Chair of the Santa Sabina College Board. Since 2006 I have been involved in the planning and implementation of DEA, as a member of DEC and the PJP Working Party, as Chair of the Implementation Planning Committee and, for the past three years, as Chair of the first Board of Trustees of Dominican Education Australia.

I feel great pride in having been associated with the wonderful Education Ministries of DEA. I am confident that DEA will continue to grow in strength and commitment to the message of Jesus and to its Catholic, Dominican identity and heritage in coming years. However, I believe that, for myself, it is time to take a rest. I extend to Eileen Young best wishes and thanks as she takes on the role of Chair.

I wish you all, my friends and colleagues in this most significant endeavour of providing excellence in Catholic, Dominican education to our treasured young people, every blessing and success for the future.

Sue Fabian

Board Chair
Dominican Education Australia