From the Principal – For a new beginning

Dear members of the Whitefriars College community,

I was hunting around for a prayer to read to our staff as we commenced the new year at Whitefriars College. I wanted a prayer that I hoped would inspire them and capture their imagination as we once again took a deep dive into learning and teaching the young men of our College. I longed for a reflection which would provide them, (and me too for that matter), with a new way of thinking and of dreaming, one which would take us all into uncharted waters, far beyond our comfort zones.

As I continued my search, I came to the realisation that what I was seeking was a passage on new beginnings! I wanted to acknowledge the year just gone and then leap into this new one. I wanted to invite our staff to take leaps of faith and hope on the precipice of something new and exciting, because isn’t that what we are looking for, for the young men who will commence with us this year? Yes!

  • From the new bright-eyed Year 7 boys who will arrive on their first day with a mix of nervousness and excitement wondering what the future will hold for them, wondering if they will fit in, meet new friends and mostly just be able to find their way around,
  • to the Year 12 young men equally nervous and excited at the anticipation of testing themselves against a VCE program which will challenge them to reach well beyond their potential,
  • to the Year 9 boy who might be feeling a bit lost and unsure as he walks the tricky path between ‘adolescent’ and ‘man’, hoping he will find that thing that will connect and engage him to life in school.

Finally, my search uncovered a little gem of a prayer from the great Celtic spiritual writer, John O’Donohue titled New Beginnings. I leave this prayer with you and hope you will see all that we as parents and a College are hoping for our boys.

My hope and prayer for 2023 is that each of us finds our place here, that each of us share moments of inspiration and aspiration, that we all make new connections and learn new things in an atmosphere of support, encouragement and challenge, and that we know our God walks with us always, but particularly at those more difficult moments.

Students, parents and staff, all the best to you all for the exciting year ahead.


Mr Mark Murphy




 John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time, it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.


It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the grey promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.