Sophie Education Ministries
We would like to share information with our community from Joan Pender rscJ Provincial regarding the School governance.
For more than three years, the Provincial Council, in close communication with the RSCJ of the Australia-New Zealand Province, has engaged in a process aimed at carrying forward the Society’s mission of education in the Church, specifically in our three Sacred Heart Schools in Australia. We are at a time where the number of RSCJ has diminished, but when the role of the laity in the Church and in our Province has strengthened in accordance with the spirit of Vatican II. The General Chapter of the Society in 2008 addressed our lay collaborators in these words: In all our educational undertakings ….. our colleagues carry the mission and charism for us, with us.
Today, the governance of the Schools is carried by the School Boards who are accountable to the Provincial and her Council and to the Sacred Heart Education Ministries Board (SHEM) established by the Society. Directors of the School Boards are appointed by the Provincial. We recognised that the time has come to establish a new way, one that will carry forward the mission and charism of the Society.
All Catholic schools have a formal relationship with a Church entity. In our case, each school has been set up by the Religious of the Sacred Heart and is related to the Province. The Province is a Church entity and belongs to a larger one, the Society of the Sacred Heart. The Canon Law term for such an entity is Public Juridic Person (PJP). A new Public Juridic Person status can be conferred by the Vatican. The Provincial Council has successfully applied to the Vatican to establish a new entity which will be called Sophia Education Ministries. Its Board will carry responsibilities currently held by the Provincial and her Council and by the Board of Sacred Heart Education Ministries known as SHEM. The Society of the Sacred Heart will be the single member of this new entity.
Click here to view a document which gives a brief overview of the Society’s mission of education in Australia from 1882 to the present time. It explains the work that has been done in planning for the future, how the new entity, now approved by the Vatican, will be established and the likely timing for this.
You may wonder how this might impact on your relationship with the Society and the School. There will be no change. The School will continue to be governed by the School Board and administered by the Principal. The significant changes will be for the School Board whose Directors will be appointed by the Board of Sophia Education Ministries and who will be accountable to that Board.
I encourage you to take time to read the explanatory document carefully. Should you have concerns or questions please contact Stuartholme School who will direct your enquiry.
We count on your continued commitment to the goals of Sacred Heart education and your support for the Society’s mission of education and charism.
Joan Pender RSCJ