back to main page View Previous Issues

From the Principal

Sr Sheila Flynn’s image of St Dominic, ‘Hope bearing companion, dark scattering edge walker', hangs above the fireplace in my office as inspiration and reminder of our Dominican calling to preach Truth. 



Dominicans are called to preach in many and varied ways.  From very early days in the history of the Order, Dominicans have preached through their art.  Over the Easter break while travelling in Italy with our students, I visited San Marco in Florence to see the frescoes of the Dominican painter, Fra Angelico (Brother John of Fiesole, c1395-1455).  This term, our own Sr Sheila Flynn, artist and print maker, travelled to St Louis in the United States to join a gathering of Dominican artists from across the world, professors, musicians and composers, glass artists, painters, potters, weavers, dramatists, poets, authors.  Sr Sheila expressed her shock and surprise at being called forward to receive the 2019 Fra Angelico Medal, the highest honour that the Dominican Institute for the Arts, (DIA), bestows on one of its members. 

The Fra Angelico Award is presented every year to a DIA artist who exemplifies Fra Angelico’s dedication to furthering the Holy Preaching through art.  The criteria for this award are:

• The artist’s work is of the highest quality in his or her discipline
• It is highly honoured in artistic circles
• The artist exemplifies the ideas of the Dominican Institute of the Arts

In honouring Sheila, the citation read by the President of the Dominican Institute of the Arts, Pat Daly OPA, stated:

“This year, every nomination we received was for the same person.  Furthermore, three of the nominations were from Fra Angelico recipients themselves.  To my knowledge, this is a first in DIA history.  Like so many …, one of this artist’s early Dominican ministries was teaching but within that teacher beat the heart of an artist.  Within that teacher lived the soul of a Dominican artist yearning to preach the Gospel message through art.”

It is such a well deserved acknowledgement of Sheila’s gift and her preaching.  We continue to be so privileged to have her in Australia and to share in her beautiful artwork in schools like Siena and in her creativity and insights.  We look forward to celebrating her award on her return to Melbourne as we enjoy the beautiful Dominican iconography and images she has created for us recently in our refurbished Convent and surrounds.

The refurbishment of the Siena Convent made it possible for the Principal’s office to be relocated to a more accessible area of the College and last week, the addition of glass doors has made it a more welcoming place for staff, students and community members to call in for a chat.  I have had a lovely week welcoming a stream of visitors.  The week began with an unexpected visit from Sr Patricia Nichols OP from Sydney.  Sr Pat popped in for a tour of the Convent.  Based on the original timber demarcations on the floor of the Heritage Centre, Sr Pat was able to point out where her original room had been when the Sisters lived in the Convent.  Later in the week, I shared morning tea with Susan Alberti and Elizabeth Hanney who will take up her role as Principal of Siena College in 2020, and following their visit, Phyllis Naughton and her sister Noela Corby.  As I pointed out the features of my new office and an old photograph of a class being taught there, Noela exclaimed in surprise that it was her class featured. She found herself in the front row along with many classmates she could still name!  Phyllis was the recipient of the 2018 Siena College Community Award.  

It was also lovely to welcome Peter Beckman, past Board Member and Chair of the Building and Grounds Committee who played a significant role in all our recent capital works including the design and construction of the St Catherine Centre.  Peter, his wife Jenny and daughter Steph, were the inaugural recipients of the Siena College Community Award in 2017.  I have greatly enjoyed the stream of student visitors, and towards the end of the week, the opportunity to host a morning tea for the Year 12s in the Heritage Centre.  

We will celebrate the feast of St Dominic on Thursday, 8 August, a day when we often pray a Dominican Blessing on all in our Siena community:

May God the Father and Creator of us all bless us.
May God the son and Greatest Teacher heal and guide us.
May God the Holy Spirit enlighten us
and give us eyes to see the beauty of the world,
Ears to hear the cries of the poor,
Hands to do the work of God in a spirit of service and justice, feet to walk toward those alone, grieving or in need, a mouth to preach the word of salvation with power and truth,
And the angel of peace to watch over us and lead us at last,
By our Lord’s gift,
To the Kingdom.

 

go back

Sr Sheila Flynn’s image of St Dominic, ‘Hope bearing companion, dark scattering edge walker', hangs above the fireplace in my office as inspiration and reminder of our Dominican calling to preach Truth. 



Dominicans are called to preach in many and varied ways.  From very early days in the history of the Order, Dominicans have preached through their art.  Over the Easter break while travelling in Italy with our students, I visited San Marco in Florence to see the frescoes of the Dominican painter, Fra Angelico (Brother John of Fiesole, c1395-1455).  This term, our own Sr Sheila Flynn, artist and print maker, travelled to St Louis in the United States to join a gathering of Dominican artists from across the world, professors, musicians and composers, glass artists, painters, potters, weavers, dramatists, poets, authors.  Sr Sheila expressed her shock and surprise at being called forward to receive the 2019 Fra Angelico Medal, the highest honour that the Dominican Institute for the Arts, (DIA), bestows on one of its members. 

The Fra Angelico Award is presented every year to a DIA artist who exemplifies Fra Angelico’s dedication to furthering the Holy Preaching through art.  The criteria for this award are:

• The artist’s work is of the highest quality in his or her discipline
• It is highly honoured in artistic circles
• The artist exemplifies the ideas of the Dominican Institute of the Arts

In honouring Sheila, the citation read by the President of the Dominican Institute of the Arts, Pat Daly OPA, stated:

“This year, every nomination we received was for the same person.  Furthermore, three of the nominations were from Fra Angelico recipients themselves.  To my knowledge, this is a first in DIA history.  Like so many …, one of this artist’s early Dominican ministries was teaching but within that teacher beat the heart of an artist.  Within that teacher lived the soul of a Dominican artist yearning to preach the Gospel message through art.”

It is such a well deserved acknowledgement of Sheila’s gift and her preaching.  We continue to be so privileged to have her in Australia and to share in her beautiful artwork in schools like Siena and in her creativity and insights.  We look forward to celebrating her award on her return to Melbourne as we enjoy the beautiful Dominican iconography and images she has created for us recently in our refurbished Convent and surrounds.

The refurbishment of the Siena Convent made it possible for the Principal’s office to be relocated to a more accessible area of the College and last week, the addition of glass doors has made it a more welcoming place for staff, students and community members to call in for a chat.  I have had a lovely week welcoming a stream of visitors.  The week began with an unexpected visit from Sr Patricia Nichols OP from Sydney.  Sr Pat popped in for a tour of the Convent.  Based on the original timber demarcations on the floor of the Heritage Centre, Sr Pat was able to point out where her original room had been when the Sisters lived in the Convent.  Later in the week, I shared morning tea with Susan Alberti and Elizabeth Hanney who will take up her role as Principal of Siena College in 2020, and following their visit, Phyllis Naughton and her sister Noela Corby.  As I pointed out the features of my new office and an old photograph of a class being taught there, Noela exclaimed in surprise that it was her class featured. She found herself in the front row along with many classmates she could still name!  Phyllis was the recipient of the 2018 Siena College Community Award.  

It was also lovely to welcome Peter Beckman, past Board Member and Chair of the Building and Grounds Committee who played a significant role in all our recent capital works including the design and construction of the St Catherine Centre.  Peter, his wife Jenny and daughter Steph, were the inaugural recipients of the Siena College Community Award in 2017.  I have greatly enjoyed the stream of student visitors, and towards the end of the week, the opportunity to host a morning tea for the Year 12s in the Heritage Centre.  

We will celebrate the feast of St Dominic on Thursday, 8 August, a day when we often pray a Dominican Blessing on all in our Siena community:

May God the Father and Creator of us all bless us.
May God the son and Greatest Teacher heal and guide us.
May God the Holy Spirit enlighten us
and give us eyes to see the beauty of the world,
Ears to hear the cries of the poor,
Hands to do the work of God in a spirit of service and justice, feet to walk toward those alone, grieving or in need, a mouth to preach the word of salvation with power and truth,
And the angel of peace to watch over us and lead us at last,
By our Lord’s gift,
To the Kingdom.