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In our work in Identity, we regularly talk with the boys about seeing the world from a different perspective, or considering what life looks like from someone else’s experience. Last week I had the great opportunity to do just that by visiting the community at Normanton and the families of our homestay boys.

Normanton is a remote cattle and tourism centre on the Norman River about 79 kms from the Gulf of Carpentaria and roughly 2000 kms from Shorncliffe. There are around 1400 residents and almost half are indigenous people. Visiting the community for the first time I was struck by the way in which nature has shaped the place and the people – many of the town’s landmarks are linked to times of boom or bust, times of massive and destructive floods and periods of intense and crippling drought.

Meeting with the families of our young men from Normanton I was also struck by how grateful the families were to be able to send their sons to St Patrick's College. They were extremely grateful to our local homestay families who make space for their sons and give them the love and support of family life, 2000 kms from home. The families in Normanton were very grateful to our teachers who integrated their sons into our classrooms and school activities. The families were especially thankful to Mr Luke Royes for all that he does to help their sons fit into life at St Patrick's and in Brisbane. The constant comment from the families was that they were grateful that their sons had “opportunity” and the chance at making a place for themselves in the world.

At the same time though I was conscious of how difficult it is for these families to send their young men so far away from home. I was also very conscious of how difficult it is for the boys to make a life for themselves away from the natural supports of family and everything they have known. This must be a daily challenge for these young men, just to get through the ordinary everyday activities of life.

Spending time with our young men from Normanton I am always reminded of what a gift they are to our community, they bring a different perspective and energy, they have a grounded attitude to life and they model resilience and grit to us all.

In the coming weeks we will be putting out the call to families in the community who would be interested in hosting one of the Normanton boys next year to come to an information meeting. Please have a think about whether this might work for you and your family. We have made a video about our Homestay program which is available on the link below.

HOMESTAY PROGRAM VIDEO

Congratulations to all our Stella Bellas and Fellas who stood up for treating other people with dignity and respect.

This week in Identity:

  • Paddy’s Van Ministries
  • Year 10 Retreats
  • Praying for our Year 12 men as they work through their QCS exams next week

Mr Tim Kenny - Dean of Identity