Page | St Patrick's College Campbelltown

History and Tradition

St Patrick’s College was established in 1840. It was the first school built by private enterprise in the colony of New South Wales and was the result of the initiative of the Catholic people of the Campbelltown area in association with the priest responsible for the district, Fr Gould.

This original school was built on three acres of land donated by Mary Sheil, wife of Dennis Sheil and daughter of local pioneer, William Bradbury, and named St Patrick’s. The original building still stands today and is now known as ‘Quandong’, which houses the Campbelltown Historic Exhibition, Tourist Information Centre and the St Patrick’s museum.

Teachers from the general community staffed this early St Patrick’s until 1887 when the Sisters of the Good Samaritan assumed responsibility for the school. In 1888, after the completion of the new St John’s church in Cordeaux Street, a convent and school was established at the ’old’ St John’s ‘on the hill’ building and took its name from the original St Patrick’s at ‘Quandong’.

The final change in location came in 1970 when St Patrick’s moved from ‘old’ St John’s to its present location. This site was originally a Preparatory School for Boys named St John’s or “Westview” and was also conducted by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. From 1970 until today the College has continued to grow and now has an enrolment of over 730 students from Years 7 – 12.

While recognising the origin of the school and the contribution of both the members of the laity and the religious orders in the mission of the Church, the strong presence of the Good Samaritan Sisters at St Patrick’s for over one hundred and sixteen years has contributed significantly to the heritage, tradition and spirituality of the school.

Good Samaritan Tradition

The congregation of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict was founded in Sydney by the first Archbishop, John Bede Polding, OSB on 2 February 1857. The foundation was made in response to a particular need in the growing colony of New South Wales, then in its sixty- ninth year.

Archbishop Polding, a Benedictine monk, instructed and cared for the sisters in the difficulties of the early years and gave them their Rules, which he based on the spirit of the Rule of St Benedict. His opening words in the Rules show the adaptability of the Congregation to times, places and needs.

"This congregation of Religious is designed for the practice of the spiritual and temporal works of charity, under the guidance of holy obedience, according to the Rule of St Benedict. Therefore, as directed by their Superiors, they are ready to teach in schools, to visit and assist the sick in their own homes and in hospitals, to instruct ignorant persons in the faith, to conduct orphanages, to reform the lives of penitent women, and to apply themselves to every other charitable work."

Throughout the history of the Congregation, it has been the evident needs of the Church which have determined the particular activities in which the Sisters have engaged. As the needs of the Church changed the congregation has been called to meet new challenges.

They have responded with the adaptability desired by Polding when he asked them to be ready to apply themselves to “every other charitable work”. The Congregation is now involved in primary and secondary education, in teacher education, catechetical work, parish ministry, youth ministry, care of the socially handicapped, education of the intellectually handicapped and work with prayer and retreat groups.

Our Motto

"The Lord is My Light..." is the motto of St Patrick’s College. It is depicted on the College crest by the flame in the centre of the badge.

This motto is a reminder to us all that Christ is the centre of our life at the College.

Good Samaritan Educational Philosophy

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict was founded in Sydney by John Bede Polding OSB, the first Catholic Archbishop, on 2 February 1857. This new congregation, the first to be founded on Australian soil, was formed to care for disadvantaged and abused women. Polding, however, gave the congregation a broad and flexible scope in its mission. By giving the name, "Sisters of the Good Samaritan", he indicated that the Sisters were to have a Christ-like attitude of compassion and care for those they served.

From the very beginning, commitment to women and the education of young people – girls in particular - has been at the heart of the congregation’s mission. Sisters began teaching in a school in Sussex Street, Sydney in 1861. In subsequent decades, the ministry of Good Samaritan education spread to other Australian States and to Japan. Education in the faith and adult education are features of Good Samaritan ministry throughout Australia, in Japan, Kiribati and the Philippines.

Good Samaritan Schools offer a Catholic Education which:

Draws on the strength of the Good Samaritan Benedictine Tradition.

We value:

  • The dignity of each person;
  • An academic environment at the forefront of modern educational development;
  • A love of learning;
  • An holistic view of education and an integrated curriculum which will challenge the creativity, initiative and ability of each student;
  • Respect for individual differences so that “the strong have something to strive for and the weak nothing to run from” (Rule of Benedict 64:9);
  • The integration of faith and life;
  • A balance of prayer and work;
  • An appreciation of beauty and cultural plurality;
  • Wise stewardship which reverences the earth and its resources;
  • Hospitality of heart and place;
  • The seeking of peace.

Is directed to the seeking of God

Life is a journey in search of God, the Creator, Word and Spirit. We reverence the Scriptures as nourishment and guide in the seeking of God. We express our longing for and praise of God in personal, communal and liturgical prayer. Because God has become one with us in Jesus Christ, we believe that our lived experience is the meeting place with the divine. Our plans and endeavours are so arranged “that in all things God may be glorified”.

Is centred on Jesus Christ and his mission

Personal commitment to Jesus Christ and his mission is central to our educational enterprise. Inspired by the example of the Samaritan of Luke’s gospel and by Polding’s compassionate missionary vision, we commit ourselves to a Gospel way of life, responding with energy and creativity to the challenge of our social reality. We have special concern for, and aim to stand in solidarity with, those on the margins of society.

Is committed to partnership and to Christian community

Our educational settings, where we work in a spirit of collaboration and partnership, witness to the possibility of Christian community. We aim to foster inclusive communities where others are encouraged to contribute with the ‘good gifts’ given them (cf Rule of Benedict Prologue 21) and so build up the Body of Christ (cf 1 Corinthians 12)