Pastoral Care groups at St Mary’s College are linked to House groups, with all students in a Pastoral Care class from the same House group. The College works actively to strengthen students’ identity with their Pastoral Care class and their House group. Interhouse competitions in athletics, cross country, swimming and choir build house spirit and encourage students to participate in sport and cultural activities. House liturgies and celebrations as well as Pastoral Care celebrations further foster a sense of belonging and help build shared experiences.
The four House groups are named after significant people in our history and link to our Mercy heritage:
The Gorry family were great supporters of the church in Ipswich and especially of the Sisters of Mercy. In 1862, Jane Gorry became the first Queenslander to join the sisters. She was among the first contingent of sisters who travelled to Ipswich to establish St Mary’s school. Jane was known for her hard work and deep faith.
The Gorry House crest features the Southern Cross, signifying Jane’s Australian heritage. The name Gorry means someone who lives by a wedge-shaped piece of land. A wedge is featured on the crest, in the house colour yellow. The Canton contains the Mercy Cross.
Father Andrew Horan came to Ipswich in 1875 and served as parish priest for more than 50 years. During his tenure, he developed the St Mary’s parish, as well as many surrounding parishes. Fr Horan oversaw the construction of St Mary’s church. To honour is important role in the church, at the time of his death he was commemorated and interred inside St Mary’s church.
The Horan House crest depicts an open book with the Alpha and Omega; symbols of the Gospels and also of education. The background is red, the House colour. The Canton contains a Chalice and Host, symbols of the priesthood.
Mother Joseph Murphy was one of the first principals of St Mary’s. Travelling to Ipswich from Ireland shortly after joining the Sisters of Mercy, she spent most of her life in Ipswich. She inspired many by her great example and gentleness to enter the religious life.
In honour of Mother Murhpy’s Irish heritage, the Murphy House colour is green. The crest features a St Brigid’s cross, a common religious symbol in Ireland woven from straw. The Canton contains the Mercy Cross.
Ellen Whitty entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1839, taking the name Sister Mary Vincent. In 1863 she established St Mary’s School in Ipswich. She was known for her great faith and courage, and as a very capable administrator.
The name Whitty means of flaxen hair, and someone who lives by a river. The Heraldic device shows long wavy banks of fair hair on a blue background representing the river. In the Canton is the Mercy Cross. The House colour is blue.