From the Principal – Gratitude

Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,

The word gratitude  is one I am hearing a lot lately. Many theorists suggest that to be truly happy and complete we should all adopt an attitude of gratitude in our daily lives. There are many theories on how we can assume this attitude in the everyday. One such theory suggests that we wake up each morning and think of 10 things we are grateful for in our lives. This is not a particularly new concept. In fact, I think my grandma used to say it another way – “Count your blessings Mark!” the origins of which are found in the Psalm 103 –

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” – Psalm 103:1-2.

Another way to live this attitude is to verbalise it to others. To find opportunities to express our thankfulness and gratitude to others in our lives. Each of these methods are sound in themselves but the feelings of gratitude we gain from these exercises can often be fleeting.

Last week, I attended a seminar for Principals conducted by Psychologist Maria Ruberto. Maria suggested to us that if we really wished to sustain this feeling of gratitude in our lives the best way to do so is to serve. To take the joy and energy of thankfulness that we feel and to pay it forward in real and tangible ways to others, particularly those in greatest need.

Last week, I witnessed an example of gratitude at work as a group of staff and senior students ventured out on a chilly Wednesday evening in support of the Rosie Street Mission initiative. We are so blessed at Whitefriars to be able to support this incredibly valuable opportunity introduced to us by one of dedicated staff, Josh Chia.

What I witnessed on this evening filled me with gratitude and honour as I observed the young men of Whitefriars amongst the “streeties”, (that’s what they like to name themselves). Most of these students had not participated in an activity of this nature before and could have been forgiven for being a little apprehensive and nervous. However, if they were they didn’t show it and immediately upon arrival were engaging with our friends from the city, providing them the warmth of a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, a deeper, more sustaining warmth of company, connection and conversation.

Towards the end of the evening, I was approached by one man who wanted to thank us for coming. He told me that life on the streets for him was a very lonely existence. He said that he often would go days without speaking to anyone and he felt invisible in the community. He said that our young men took an interest in him, they listened to him, laughed with him and mostly just made him feel human in that moment. The gentleman went onto say that in return, the only thing he could offer to them was a little of his own story. I suggested to our friend that his sharing of personal story would be of equal, or even greater value, to our boys.

The Rosies Street Mission initiative is one of a number of social outreach activities we are planning to bring to our boys over time. However, these  opportunities would not be possible without the generosity and goodwill of many staff who volunteer their time and skill to supporting our boys in this space. I am grateful beyond words for all those staff who model our Carmelite spirit of Contemplation, Community and Service everyday here at Whitefriars, and walk with our boys as they grow to become fine gentle men who live out the true meaning of gratitude through service founded in love.

VCE Theatre studies Performance

Last week, I had the privilege to attend the VCE Theatre Studies performance of War of the Worlds in the Healy Wilson Theatre. A packed house were on the edge of their seats from beginning to end as our talented students led us on a journey of suspense and high drama. The creative staging and skilled acting of all involved was of the highest standard which is a hallmark of theatre performance at Whitefriars.

I would like to thank and congratulate the students of our VCE theatre Studies class along with their teacher Nathalie Fox and all staff of our Performing Arts learning area, led by Mr Matthew Frampton, who continue to provide our boys with rich  learning experiences in this space.


Mr Mark Murphy