The AMSSA Constitution identifies the following three goals as core to the purpose of our organisation:

  • To further the Mercy spirituality and ethos for Secondary Education and to continue the tradition in a systematic way.
  • To contribute to staff and student formation.
  • To facilitate the development and sharing of ideas, curriculum and resources.

When one ponders that this is the first complete AMSSA report since 2019 it provides further context to the aptly titled theme “Mercy in liminal times” for the 2023 AMSSA Staff conference at All Hallows School Brisbane.  The last time the AMSSA community met was at the staff conference held at Monte Sant Angelo College in Sydney in 2019 where ironically the theme was “Speaking the Silence”.  At Brisbane the silence was ended.

Our staff and student conferences were traditionally a critical pathway to achieving the core purpose of this association, bringing together those inspired by Catherine McAuley’s vision to energise and support one another in our leadership of Mercy education in today’s world. The staff and student conferences were on alternate years. The last student conference was in Perth just before COVID. We all look forward to resuming the AMSSA journey and taking the opportunity to share time and space and reflect on the past and future challenges in a Mercy context in the welcome warm climes of Brisbane. The staff conference has had many interruptions during this limbo, and I want to thank the team at All Hallows on behalf of everyone for their persistence in organizing the conference and developing a wonderful list of presenters.

Finally, AMSSA would like to thank Kitty Guerin our AMSSA Executive Officer, for her service and support for 10 years and through difficult times. Kitty is resigning from the role at the end of this year and her expertise and experience will be missed. We wish her every success and thank her for her patience. At times it was not easy to navigate who was where during lockdowns and natural disasters.

As Richard Rohr reminds us:

We actually need to fail, fast, and deliberately falter to understand the other dimension of life… In liminal space we descend and intentionally do not immediately come back out or up; we seek status reversal instead of status, social displacement instead of social belonging…

The Executive Committee consists of:

The AMSSA Executive meets in person once a year and by teleconference three times a year. At this year’s Staff Conference, the following people will conclude their term as members of the Executive.

Outgoing members:

Brian Turner (Catherine McAuley College, Bendigo VIC)

Kerrie Fraser (Mercedes College, WA)

Continuing members:

Catherine O’Kane (All Hallows School, QLD)

Kellie Osborn (Mercedes College, SA)

Nicole Christensen (Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College, NSW)

Dan McMahon (Shalom College, Bundaberg QLD)

Sarah Dwan (St Mary’s College, Auckland, NZ)

New Members:

Phillip Morison (Mount Lilydale Mercy College, VIC)

Jennifer Oaten (Santa Maria College, Attadale, WA)

AMSSA Membership 2023

Seventy schools across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are current members of AMSSA. Approximately 140 delegates from these schools will attend the Brisbane Conference, Mercy in liminal times. The consistently high number of delegates attending both staff and student conferences suggests that the Conference coordinating committees are doing excellent work in shaping programs that are dynamic and appealing.

As previous President Paddy McEvoy noted “AMSSA brings together staff and students from schools with incredibly diverse student profiles. Geographical, socioeconomic, cultural and religious backgrounds of our students and their families vary enormously.”