Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > School Newsletter > Staff Perspectives: The Year of Justice - 3 February 2023

Staff Perspectives: The Year of Justice - 3 February 2023

Our Chaplain, Ms Kerry McCullough shares an amazing experience when on safari in South Africa and how this experience led her to reflect on the Loreto value for 2023, Justice.
3 Feb 2023
School Newsletter
Staff Perspectives
Staff Perspectives

Justice - A reflection in the African bush

Ms Kerry McCullough | Chaplain

During the break I travelled to South Africa where I had the truly amazing experience of going on safari in one of the game parks, Bilule. Late one afternoon we came across a buffalo and her newborn baby which the guides told us was only a few hours old. The mother buffalo had separated herself from the herd, which had continued moving, and went apart, alone, to give birth. She was now, a few hours later, going to rejoin the herd with her newborn on its spindly legs trotting closely behind her. She had her nose to the ground, sniffing out the herd’s scent and her path, and as she sensed she was getting closer she picked up her pace, the little one doing its best to keep up. Then the most beautiful thing happened! As the mother buffalo and her baby, whom we named Clarissa, approached, the entire herd turned and walked towards them, surrounding them both in welcome and protection. It was truly a ‘goose-bump’ moment - those huge beasts, which can be quite ferocious, showing something so tender, welcoming the mother and the newborn into the community and giving them the protection they needed. Newborns in the bush are highly vulnerable to attack, being easy prey, and many do not survive the first night. The next day, however, the trackers found the herd and identified Clarissa and we were thrilled to find she had indeed made it safely through her first night and was now more steadily trotting alongside her mother and the rest of the herd!

This beautiful scene led me to reflect on Justice, the Loreto Value our whole community is exploring and growing into this year. It made me think of justice because at heart, justice is about noticing and reaching out to those who are weak, vulnerable, and marginalised, who are denied the fullness of life, and bringing them back into the community. People, as individuals and as groups, are on the outskirts for many reasons. We place them there because we judge and condemn them, we perceive their weakness, their lack of productivity.  We place people into categories - the nuisances, the not-worthy - and we justify it using terms such as ‘illegal’ or ‘self-inflicted’, labelling those who do care, ‘bleeding hearts’, ‘do-gooders’, ‘out of touch’. We create structures which allow some in and some not. But at heart, whatever form our action for justice may take our Christian understanding of justice is that it is about bringing people back into life. 

When we look at the actions and words of Jesus, who is of course our model for justice, we see that every time he reached out and healed someone two things happened. Of course, it alleviated the suffering of that person, but it also restored them to the community from which they were excluded. It enabled them to take part in that life once more and to have that fullness of life, that abundant life of which he spoke. Very often that restoration to life took the form of the healed person running joyfully to the temple in Jerusalem to let the priest know he/she was healed and could now enter the temple and be part of Jewish life again. There are many instances of this. I think here of the crippled man patiently waiting day after day for someone to help him into the pool whose waters were believed to have healing powers and who, when Jesus passed by and healed him, did just that. And then there was the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years and not only suffered physically because of that but was considered ‘unclean’ according to Jewish purity laws and therefore unfit to take part in Jewish life and worship. She too was restored. So many examples of human suffering involved poor choices which led people to be marginalised such as Zacchaeus the corrupt tax-collector who was hated by everyone or the prostitute whose choices left her scorned and judged and who bravely entered a Pharisee’s house where Jesus was dining and knelt at his feet. 

We are often told that Jesus felt compassion for these people, and we know that the Greek word translated as ‘compassion’ in these texts literally means ‘his gut churned within him’. It was deeply felt. Justice, according to our Christian understanding, is an inside-out movement. It requires of us that we see – really see and appreciate – the inherent dignity of each person, regardless of what our head may be saying and our prejudices shouting at us.  This is challenging. It asks of us that we allow our own ‘gut to be churned’ within us, to stand alongside, to be-with. It’s as simple as that. Yes, the particular action we choose to take may be complex because often there is no self-evident path, but what is clear and simple is that we are called to be the voices, the hands and the hearts that restore others to life, whatever form that may take.

I do hope Clarissa is flourishing out there in the African bush. She was certainly blessed with a protective community in her vulnerable days. Perhaps she too is now one of the herds turning to welcome and protect a newborn.

Please enjoy the short video of the scene.

Similar stories

Staff Perspectives

Acting Director of Faith and Identity, Mr Jason Currao discusses the understanding of justice in right relationships with God, oneself, and others, grounded in divine love. More...

Students participating in Clean Up Australia Day

Our students have been embodying the value of Justice in all that they do. Read on to find out more and please take note… More...

Primary Cross Country

Our Primary students have been learning to cope with emotions and change and showing admirable sportswomenship. Please t… More...

Ms Marina Ugonotti

Our Principal, Ms Ugonotti celebrates traditions at our Generations Morning Tea and shares the news of many student achi… More...

Y10 students from Loreto Normanhurst, Loreto Ballarat and Loreto Coorparoo

Our students were sporting stars this week and amazing hosts to our visiting Loreto students from around the country. Re… More...

Most read

Students participating in Clean Up Australia Day

Our students have been embodying the value of Justice in all that they do. Read on to find out more and please take note of important events and notic… More...

Primary Cross Country

Our Primary students have been learning to cope with emotions and change and showing admirable sportswomenship. Please take note of the important noti… More...

Primary students on their first day for 2023

This week we welcomed our new and returning primary students to Teresa Ball! Read more about open circle experiences and upcoming dates for your diari… More...

Have your say

This website is powered by