Spiritual Life & Pastoral Care

We are a college in the Catholic tradition and welcome people of all faiths and none; we are inspired by the Gospels and strive to live by their values.

All areas of life at St Mary’s are underpinned by a genuine commitment to live the principles espoused by Mary Ward, the founder of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM). She encouraged her companions to adopt a spirit of “freedom, justice and sincerity”, and this still holds true for modern day students at St Mary’s. Regardless of whether you come from a Catholic or non-Catholic tradition, you’re encouraged to explore and nurture these values by:

  • Promoting and upholding the dignity of all people
  • Showing respect for yourself, others and our environment;
  • Reflecting on your own sense of faith and what that means to you;
  • Respecting the faith journey of others;
  • Creating a more just society through involvement in community service and volunteer work;
  • Building confidence to become your true self, by embracing the many opportunities offered to you at St Mary’s;
  • Having the courage and honesty to ask for help when you need it.

Today, more than ever, our lives are busy and pressured. It’s hard to make time and space for spirituality and reflection. However, St Mary’s nurtures the whole person, and creates genuine opportunities for its students to pause and reflect, to help others and to receive support when needed.

Chapel

You’re welcome to use the St Mary’s College Chapel at any time – it’s a beautiful space for quiet reflection. Communal evening reflection times are organized as required by students.

Celebration of the Eucharist

  • Mass is celebrated for all students on important College occasions, including Commencement, College Day and Valete. The Student Liturgy Convenor encourages students to plan the liturgies for these special College occasions.
  • Mass is regularly celebrated most Wednesdays at 5.30pm in the St Mary’s College Chapel by a member of the Jesuit community at Newman College and approximately once per month, on a Sunday evening by our local parish priest, Father Michael Elligate.
  • You’re warmly invited to attend weekly Mass next door at Newman College Chapel – every Sunday at 11am and 7pm during semester. The Newman Choir sing at the 7pm Mass and it is a sound to behold.
  • In addition, Father Michael offers Mass at St Carthage’s in Royal Parade, Parkville, at 10am and 5pm each Sunday – it’s a short 10-minute walk from College. The 5pm Mass is a Student Mass and is enriched each week by visiting musicians and singers.

Community Volunteering

When you join the St Mary’s community, you’ll be encouraged to share your time, energy and gifts with those in need. Overall, students commit to ten hours of volunteering each year, to honour the principles and traditions of the founding Loreto order. Our social justice program is coordinated by a student leader, and begins each year with ‘Get Involved Night’. Here, you’ll be introduced to a wide range of volunteering opportunities, such as tutoring disadvantaged students in the Academic Centre, visiting Asylum Seekers in Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA), or helping with the Red Shield Appeal. You are also invited to tailor your own volunteering – gearing it towards your own interests and skills. This will be talked about more in your application interview.

Pastoral Care

Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan, and you’ll need someone to talk to. When you’re part of the St Mary’s community, there’s always someone on hand to offer care, support and advice – whatever your issue.

  • The Principal, Darcy McCormack, and the Dean & Deputy Principal, Rachel Lechmere, both live on site. They’re warm and approachable, and encourage an open-door policy in their offices. Students are always welcome to stop by unannounced, to speak in confidence, and share their concerns. Darcy previously spent time at St Mary’s as a residential tutor, and Rachel as an undergraduate student, which means they can both relate to the challenges of country kids adjusting to university life in a big city.
  • Residential Tutors are senior members of the College Community. They’re usually graduate and postgraduate students, or young professionals with an academic expertise. As role models, they’re on hand to assist with the transition to university life and communal living. Some residential tutors are also academic tutors at College.
  • Student Mentors are chosen each year to support first-year students who are transitioning to Melbourne, to University and to College. These mentors are selected for their familiarity with the College, empathy towards others, and their sense of responsibility and discretion. Their job is to act as ‘older siblings’, offering advice and reassurance to new students. Each floor has its own student mentor, and usually this person is the first port of call for students. For more difficult, serious problems, the mentors will refer students to the Dean or Principal.