MT ST PATRICK College Assistant Principal Mary-Anne McShane recently spoke to The Weekly about the school’s intriguing history and its connection to one of the world’s most recognised figures.
Mrs McShane said the school always has a Liturgy or Mass for Saint Patrick’s Day every year on March 17.
“To celebrate the life of St Patrick and what he did for Ireland and, ultimately for the students, as many religious sisters, brothers and priests came to Australia to be in parishes and establish schools,” she said.
“Nano Nagle, the Foundress of the Presentation Sisters, sent Irish nuns to Lismore, NSW in 1886 and some of those sisters moved to the Convent in Murwillumbah and opened Mt St Patrick Primary school in 1904.
“The day gives us an opportunity to reflect on our history and traditions.”
According to Mrs McShane the demise of the poor of green confectionery frog was impacting a religious tradition.
“For many years, students have received a small bag of ‘green frogs’ from the SRC as the leave the liturgy/mass. This has had to change to spearmint leaves in more recent years since they only make red frogs now and they don’t have the volume of frogs we require!”
But although times changed the traditions remain.
“This year we’re having games, soft drink, pizza and a teachers versus students handball game at lunchtime to celebrate St Patrick’s Day,” she said.
“In previous years we’ve had games on the oval including sliding on slippery wet black plastic which we don’t do now for obvious WHS reasons!
“St Patrick’s Day is chosen, were possible, as the day to do significant things such as to open new buildings, launch Vision and Strategic Statements and induct students into the Wall of Excellence.”
2. What does Paddy’s Day mean to the school?
“It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the history and traditions of the school. To give thanks for all the good things we have because of the hard work and sacrifice of others,” Mrs McShane said.
“St Patrick is the Patron Saint of the Lismore Diocese, and we are one of the Diocesan secondary schools.
“It is a happy day – one to celebrate!”
3. Any Paddy’s day memories to share with readers?
“Fabulous Irish dancing in the Sacred Heart Church at the end of the mass on 17/3/1998 to bless and pen the refurbishments to Presentation House (the Convent which is a heritage-listed building) to make it Administration offices and the building of Staffroom, Science Labs, Music, Art and TAS facilities,” she said.
“The proliferation of ‘green frogs’ and everyone eating them at the end of the day.
“The St Patrick’s Day our Canteen supervisor asked the baker to colour all the bread orders green. The usual amount of bread was not purchased by the staff and students on the day.”