special character

Developing young women of Mercy

At St Mary's College, our Catholic character is woven into every facet of our college life.  The Special Character programmes that we offer draw deeply on the values of the Gospel and the spirit of Mercy.

Mercy Value 2023 

Each year St Mary's College students and staff focus on a Mercy Value to guide our work. Our Mercy Value for 2023 is Te tapu o te tangata/ Respect & Dignity.

Our Catholic Character – the teachings and values of Jesus

As a Catholic school we are founded on Church teachings and the values of Jesus, as seen in the gospel. We exist to support the mission of the Church – which is to teach people about God’s love and vision for us all, as modelled in the person of Christ.

We are a Mercy school where the values of love, compassion, care for the poor and vulnerable, justice and respect are shown in all aspects of school life. Our Mercy charism is a pathway for your daughter to know more about Jesus.

Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy, and Cecilia Maher, who established the Mercy order here in New Zealand, are two very powerful role models for our students. As the oldest Catholic girls’ school in New Zealand, we stand on the shoulders of strong Mercy women.

School Masses every week -  on hold during the pandemic

We are a community of faith and this is seen through our liturgies and Masses. Every junior class is rostered to organise and lead one Mass during the year. Parents, friends and families are all welcome to attend.

A whole school Mass is celebrated twice a year. These take place at St Patrick’s Cathedral. We are blessed to have a close connection with the Cathedral.

Sacramental Programme – a ten-week faith formation

A Sacramental Programme is offered to students wishing to become Catholic or for those who wish to complete the Sacraments of Initiation. The students undertake a ten-week faith formation together.

During that time, they develop an understanding of the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Confirmation and Holy Communion. It is a privilege to see them grow in their Catholic faith.

Retreats – an experience of God

During the year, each year level attends a one-day retreat, at the St Columba Centre in Vermont St in Ponsonby. The aim of our retreat programme is to develop an awareness of being Catholic and to provide students with an experience of God.

All students will participate in a full-day retreat. This offers them an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with God, their peers and themselves. Each retreat offers rotations based on prayer, meditation, physical games, team building and creative responses.

These retreats give students an opportunity to reflect, learn, share and pray in a relaxed, supportive environment. Our senior retreats offer opportunities for service and leadership formation.

Strengthening faith through acts of service

Students have opportunities to experience our Catholic character through groups such as the Young Vinnies, becoming liturgical representatives or mission promoters, altar servers or servant leaders. The focus is strengthening the faith of our students through acts of service.

We are privileged to engage with other Catholic schools through events such as Pompallier Shield, Quest, Praise and Pizza, the Mercy Cup and Diocesan Youth Masses. Music is a form of prayer, so our Gospel choir and wider music groups are also ways in which students can both worship and showcase their gifts and talents.