Our Lady of Fatima appreciates 100-year history, looks forward to bright future

10 October 2023

Centenary celebrations at Our Lady of Fatima School and Parish, has given its community a newfound sense of gratitude and opportunity to learn more about the journey their school and parish have been on.

Principal Jacinta Petersen said, ‘For those new to the Our Lady of Fatima School and Parish community, the centenary celebrations have provided an opportunity to understand the rich faith story of Palmyra and remind us of the determination and dedication of those who were instrumental in founding the School and Parish and sustaining it as a central part of the local community.

‘For those who have been part of the community for generations, our centenary journey has allowed for reconnection and an opportunity to share stories, memories and ideas for the future.’

Year 1 students Imogen and Darryl said they felt proud to be a part of a community where they have good friends and teachers and agreed that the highlight of their celebrations was burying the time capsule.  

‘We feel proud that our school has been here for such a long time and has changed so much. This year has been special. We have been excited to come to school every morning. We really enjoyed the day we all made the ‘100’ on the oval and took a drone photo. Our highlight of the centenary celebrations was the Fatima Fair- it was such a fun afternoon, and it was great that the money went towards helping others,’ said Year 4 students Phoebe and Milla.

The Year 6 cohort collectively agreed that the celebrations have provided them with a deeper understanding about the history of their school, while connecting with the wider community who were present to celebrate with them.

‘We have had lots of opportunities to celebrate our school and to connect with our community. We have learnt so much about where our school began, in a hall that cost 5 shillings a week, in a time when people still had horses. Many things have changed but our values have stayed the same. We all have the same heart, and our Fatima values are passed from the staff to the students across the generations. As students, we have a voice and try to live ‘The Fatima Way’, which means being loving, kind and welcoming.’

Many activities were planned throughout the year, beginning in December 2022, when the schools graduating Year 6 cohort restored the Our Lady of Fatima grotto as their parting gift to the school. The 2023 Year 6’s took inspiration from the school’s charism, incorporating the Holy Mother’s message of peace at Fatima in the design of their leaver’s shirt and a commemorative hoodie, which was available to purchase by the community.

The Parents and Friends collaborated with the Visual Arts teacher to create a montage of artwork led by students from each year group.

A central focus for the centenary celebrations has been reconnecting with the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, who were instrumental in founding the school and were the key reason the school continued despite significant challenges throughout its history. To honour the role of the Sisters, a flowering Eucalyptus was planted on the school site. Sister’s Shelley, Veronica and Margaret met with the student body and explained that part of their current mission is to plant trees around the world, to honour Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home in his encyclical Laudato Si. They requested that the tree be named Euphrasie Eucalyptus, after the founder of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions.

The pinnacle of the School’s festivities was the Feast Week Celebrations, to honour the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima on 13 May. Key activities for this week included students, staff, parent and parish representatives and our local Member for the Legislative Assembly, Lisa O’Malley, forming a ‘100’ for a drone shot on the school oval. A time capsule was also buried, which included mementos to commemorate this moment in time. The school also celebrated a Mass, with special guests in attendance, including Catholic Education Western Australia Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce and representatives of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions. With ongoing celebrations throughout the year, the school held a Feast Day mini-fair to support the LifeLink Catholic Caring Agencies.

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