I recently discovered that Perth College served as a place of training, formation and discernment for young women wanting to enter the order of the Community of the Sisters of the Church.
While there wasn’t a huge number of postulants between 1908 and the early 1960s, from the 1940s, Perth College was the Australian novitiate for members of the Community – most of whom would finish their training at the Mother House in England.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, The Most Reverend Kay Goldsworthy AM was chaplain at Perth College. When she started in 1988, she was known as Deacon Kay. The next few years were noteworthy in the Anglican Church as Deacon Kay was amongst the first women ordained as a Priest in Australia in 1992, along with Reverend Judith Peterkin (1959). This followed a tumultuous period in the Church as women (and men) fought for this right.
More recently, The Reverend Pat Deeny served some time as Deacon, then Priest, as a part-time Chaplain here.
For the last two years, Mr Andrew Milne, has been testing his vocation as a formation student in the Anglican Church, moving from working as a Maths teacher to working towards ordination as a Deacon, with one of his placements at Perth College.
This semester, we also welcome The Reverend Joanna Colgan (1994) to the Chaplaincy team. Joanna is a Deacon who is working toward being an ordained Priest. She is a member of the Army and will return there at the end of 2022 to begin her career as an Army Chaplain. As an Old Girl, she has fond memories of the Perth College community and is very much looking forward to the opportunity of making new memories with students, staff, families and Old Girls.
A life dedicated to the Sacred and Holy is not an easy one. It is not a path chosen by multitudes. It takes dedication, courage, compassion and a raft of other qualifications, requirements and expectations.
While following a call to a religious life, particularly for women, looks different to the minimal possibilities Sister Emily and the Community of the Sisters of the Church had at their disposal, we continue to build on the foundations they laid in the faith development of each individual who is part of the School.
The Christian Faith in its understanding of the resurrection, recognises the possibilities for personal, cultural and systemic transformation as central – new life in places where we perhaps least expect it.
I am proud to be part of the heritage of Perth College as we look towards a variety of new possibilities in the future.