Blessing of McAuley Hall

On the 20th of March, staff, students and guests witnessed the blessing of All Hallows’ School’s newly renovated McAuley Hall.

Situated on Jagara and Turrbul Country, guests first gathered outside the school’s Chapel for a beautiful Acknowledgement of Country and Smoking Ceremony delivered by Kuku Yalanji man Marlon Riley before entering the Chapel for a special blessing

The blessing liturgy provided a wonderful opportunity for many of the Sisters who studied, lived and taught in the building to revisit its story. It also provided an opportunity for blessings to be made upon the items, people and spaces which will be integral in the future education of our Primary students. As part of her words of thanks, Principal, Mrs. Catherine O’Kane outlined the many ‘lives’ of McAuley Hall – a building that has gone from teachers’ training college to primary classrooms and much more in between.

Constructed in 1958, McAuley Hall was named in honour of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and was originally known as the Catherine McAuley Training College — home of the first Catholic Teachers’ Training College in Queensland. It served as both a college and residential accommodation for Sisters of Mercy who were training to teach in Catholic Schools, with the first lay trainee teachers admitted in 1973.

After the Sisters moved their teacher training programs to a new facility named McAuley College at Dutton Park, McAuley Hall provided accommodation for Sisters of Mercy from 1975 until 1985 and the classrooms were used for a variety of purposes including adult education classes run by the Institute of Faith Education. 1985 was a landmark year for All Hallows’ as this was the year that McAuley Hall was incorporated into our school and our Year 8 students were the proud occupants of the first air-conditioned classrooms at the school. When our present House System commenced in 2003, Adderton and Gorry Houses had their Home Rooms in this building and, in 2006 it became home for our reestablished primary school years for students in Years 5 to 7.

The most recent renovation of the building offers contemporary teaching and learning spaces for our expanding Year 5 and 6 program and has, as its visual focus, an emphasis on the story of founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley. Artwork found on each level depicts the values taught and modelled by Catherine. Students are daily reminded of the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy that have guided all those whose lives have been devoted to the Mercy Charism, as they walk past the beautiful graphics incorporating the line drawings originally created by a contemporary of Catherine’s, Clare Agnew.

Catherine McAuley’s inspiring vision to nurture women of faith, compassion, learning and leadership galvanized the talents of the Sisters of Mercy to deliver quality education to aspiring teachers as well as young women. We are blessed to be continuing their good work in this space today and into the future.

After the liturgy, guests moved to McAuley Hall to witness the blessing of the plaque and building by Mrs Catherine O’Kane and Brisbane Congregation Leader, Sr Peta Goldburg.