The official blessing and opening of Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Saint Josephine Bakhita campus in Blacktown.
Yesterday – 12 March 2021 – marked a momentous day in Australia.
Australian Catholic University’s ninth campus, Saint Josephine Bakhita Campus, Blacktown was blessed by Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta and officially opened by the Honourable Alan Tudge MP, Federal Minister for Education and Youth.
During the ceremony Sister Melissa Dwyer, Provincial Superior of the Canossian Australia Delegation, gave a speech on behalf of the Canossian community.
Breaking the shackles of slavery, Bakhita stands as a reminder that light can overcome darkness, that mercy can overcome evil, that in the midst of great sufferings, hope never dies.
In her speech, Sr. Melissa highlighted two qualities that St. Bakhita possessed that present a beautiful synergy between her life and the mission of the new campus. “Bakhita was a women of courageous vision. Though Bakhita ended up in Italy as a Canossian Daughter of Charity, she never forgot the people of her homeland Sudan and she used to share her story, urging those to whom she spoke to go to her people. ‘Help my people, go to my people, help them to know God’. It is a mission of this university to serve the people of this local area, to provide quality educational pursuits for the variety of students who will grace the corridors of this site. It is a response to the prayer of Bakhita’s heart to provide for those who are marginalised”.
Sr. Melissa also underscored the value of embracing a common solidarity, as it was embodied by Bakhita: “Known as ‘the universal sister’, Bakhita represent to us a Church that is truly universal, open to all. In order to be true to its name, the Josephine Bakhita Campus must be a place of welcome for all, a place where people feel safe and valued, irrespective of their social status, their country of origin, or their religious affiliation”.
Thus the wish: “May the Josephine Bakhita Campus of the Australian Catholic University be a true university of mercy, of inclusion, and of hope, inspiring young minds and hearts to dream of a common future beyond that which seems possible”.