Magnificat for St Mary’s was the sub-title given to the extraordinary performance that concluded the centenary celebrations of St Mary’s College in Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Newman College, on December 2. The Magnificat is a prayer that enlarges out hearts and world, magnifying the glory of the Creator Spirit, the Divine. Alumna of Loreto College Ballarat and St Mary’s College, Genevieve Lacey crafted a beautiful meditation that expanded our inner and outer landscapes in a spirit of freedom, justice, sincerity, felicity and verity.
In Genevieve’s words it was “a celebration in music and words, on the centenary of St Mary’s. Neither traditional concert nor religious rite, it is a meditation, both joyful and contemplative, on the values of Loreto women and their contribution to our cultural and intellectual life, specifically through their work at St Mary’s. It is poetic, rather than literal, and speaks to the Loreto sisters’ reverence for beauty, the spiritual beliefs that shape their lives, their generosity of spirit, and their extraordinary leadership.”
At different stages the Chapel was filled with playful birdsong, powerful indigenous spoken and sung language, strong women’s voices, the strains of skilled musicians and resonant silence.
A highlight for many present was the powerful rendition of Sr Deirdre Browne’s new hymn, Spiritus Sanctus, that bookended the afternoon. Through chant, mantra and hymn, through recorders, strings, organ and voices, the plaintive music of the Spirit wound its way into our hearts, beckoning, calming, pleading, encouraging us to listen and to love, to hope and believe. The final verses challenged St Mary’s, in the spirit of Mary Ward, to fearlessly and fully aspire ‘to be seekers of truth and doers of justice’. (Sr Deirdre)
We are deeply grateful for Genevieve Lacey’s bright brilliance in curating such a worthy and wonderful celebration and her going engagement with St Mary’s and the wider Loreto network. We also extend our gratitude to the St Mary’s College community for, not only hosting this special event, but for shaping such a life-affirming community for students undertaking their tertiary studies at the University of Melbourne. The next hundred years are off to a good start!
Curator – Genevieve Lacey, Loreto College Ballarat and St Mary College alumna