Rite of Welcome 2018
Last week, the whole school came together in the school Chapel for the annual Rite of Welcome, a longstanding traditional ceremony which welcomes new pupils and staff into the St Mary’s community. The Rite of Welcome was introduced by Sister Anna Hawke CJ in 1986 and is unique to St Mary’s.
Each pupil and member of staff is officially welcomed into the school and handed a rose and a school prayer book by their guardian angel. The prayer book symbolises prayer, the foundation of school life and the rose symbolises hope for the well-being of each individual who is made in the image of God. The walls of the chapel were adorned with colourful drawings of the names of the new pupils and staff, designed by each guardian angel. Newcomers shared their thoughts with the congregation on arriving at St Mary’s. These comments from some of the school’s youngest girls included, “St Mary’s opened my eyes,” “I don’t want to go home for Exeat,” and “These last few weeks have been some of the best weeks of my life.” Even the new Head of Languages, Hugo Gardner, said, “Joining St Mary’s was like coming home … you all made me feel so welcome.”
The choir led the whole school in singing their hearts out to Ave Maria Gratia Plena and Sing Hosanna. It was a ceremony that beautifully sums up St Mary’s, its values and the culture of the school and forms a lasting memory in the lives of the whole school community.
More photos can be found here.