By Sally Kearins
Each year students and staff of Loreto Normanhurst come together each year to celebrate the much-anticipated ‘Loreto Day’. Enacting the core teachings of Mary Ward and our Loreto tradition, this day has a strong focus on social justice and service.
However, have you ever wondered what this community day used to look like outside of the 20th century?
Previous iterations of Loreto Day are quite different from what we would recognise today. Typically, it was a celebration disconnected from the contemporary social justice focus and often was one of the last events on the School Calendar. Much like the present form, activities were arranged to bring the whole school together; it appears the Liturgy and a concert were a consistent feature.
It is unknown which year marked the first to celebrate Loreto Day and it is also unclear when or why the transition from an internal to external focus of social justice occurred. Whilst they were not organised under a formal occasion such as ‘Loreto Day’, community fetes, charity concerts and special fundraising for social justice concerns have been undertaken by Loreto Normanhurst students since the earliest years of the School’s operation. Early school calendars sometimes mention a ‘Mission Day’ or ‘Mission Fete’, which are most likely the closest original iterations of the Loreto Day we recognise today. However, in 1968, the Loreto Day was officially seen on the school calendar, reading, “December Loreto Day – forever a day of great (and small) activities!”. I believe this idea of great and small activities has carried its way through to today as well with a great focus on the wider community, achieved through small activities.
So, how did the girls raise funds?
Overall, between the tennis tournaments, honorary jubilarians, fortune-telling, banana in pyjamas merch, moustache shaving, teachers legs identification and roller rinks…I think it's safe to say that Loreto Day has always been one of the highlights of the community days here at Loreto. The spirit ignited by the year 11 students and the creative ways instituted to raise funds for a cause larger than our immediate community, crafts the foundation of our school. My question is, in 2022, which teacher will be the next to nominate themselves for the hair shaving competition?
Credit - Thank you so much to Ms Rachael Vaughan, our school's Records Manager, for providing and accumulating the history of Loreto so that I may be able to produce this article and share the fascinating past events of Loreto!