A joy-filled conference celebrating our mission and internationality

From the moment we arrived at Colegio Sagrado Corazon in Mexico City until the moment we left, every single one of us attending the V International Conference of Heads of Schools of the Sacred Heart was welcomed with open hearts, arms and great joy.  The students’ enthusiastic waving, dancing and smiling alongside their teachers greeted us, and as each country’s representatives were asked to stand to be welcomed, the sense of shared community and internationality was made tangible and continued to blossom as the conference progressed. 

The careful planning was so much in evidence in the programming: speakers to inspire and challenge us, groups arranged to allow dialogue across the nationalities and languages, aided so well by the translators, and times of prayer and reflection, silent, creative and with action, to focus our minds, bodies and hearts. I was struck how this all pointedly led us to our goal of preparing together a set of common guidelines for our young people. Together we were 120 delegates from 49 schools in 19 countries, so this was a challenge, especially for the committee translating, compiling and distilling our thoughts!

This attention to detail was mirrored in the amazing hospitality we experienced: the meals, the visits, the transport connections, the entertainment, the introduction to Mexican history and culture as well as the celebration of all our cultures so visible in the closing Eucharist. It was all so colourful, vibrant and full of both life and love.

“I was overwhelmed by the diversity of the Society and their lay collaborators,
representatives from so many countries working together.
Something else that struck me was the joy that comes from gratitude.”
Jackie Brown                                                   
Head of Digby Stuart College, University of Roehampton                                                                    
Going home to our colleagues and students there are words and ideas that will echo in our hearts. From Pilar, the challenge to be the bearers of the flame for the sea of lights before us, reflecting on reality in the light of the gospel. From Jorge and Juan Luis, to be aware of the context of our students and their world. From Mariola, the qualities we must model and encourage in our young people.  From Georgina, a fuller understanding of our charism and how the Heart of Jesus touches all. There were examples of excellent practice, such as the Mexican online diploma course, and then Hiroko’s presentation about the Society. Alongside all that of course was our exchange with each other.
“For me the most lasting impression was:
the strength and dynamism of the charism of the Sacred Heart.”
Sharon O'Donovan                                                  
Deputy Head Teacher, Sacred Heart High School, Hammersmith, London                                                                  

There was much laughter and talk between the sessions, new friendships and connections being made, older friendships being strengthened. Opportunities were sought to develop international connections for our networks, schools and with AMASC. Events such as this are precious and privileged moments that aid our mission. They both ground us and lift us up, giving us strength, solidarity, friendship with our lay colleagues and the RSCJ; through it all we are brought closer to God. I am deeply grateful to all who made these days possible.

Account by Hilary Thompson
ENW Schools’ and College Network Coordinator
with photos from Colegio Sagrado Corazón México


Click here to view a few more photos.


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