From the Principal – Mother’s Day Speech

A warm welcome to our 2023 Mother’s Day Breakfast.

It is wonderful that so many Mums and boys are in attendance to share prayer and a meal.

Acknowledgement to Country

I recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ spiritual and cultural connection to Country and a commitment to reconciliation, I acknowledge the First Peoples and the Traditional Owners and custodians of the Country, the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin nation.

I respectfully acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging and remember that they have passed on their wisdom to us in various ways. Let us hold this in trust as we work and serve our communities.

Don Bosco’s Mother, Margerita “Margaret” Occhiena was a woman of great faith.

She saw to the religious upbringing of the children, taught them their catechism, took them to church, and prepared them for the sacraments. God was foremost in her thoughts.

Above all she devoted her best efforts to their development as persons.

What Margaret sought to give her children was moral character and inner spiritual resources for life and engagement with life. She trained them to a sense of God’s presence, trust in God’s love, honesty and integrity, love of hard work and faithfulness to duty, sensibility to other people’s needs expressed in concrete acts of service, Christian optimism and a lively hope for God’s ultimate reward.

The values of how she lived and her special devotion to Mary was passed to the children, particularly her son John Bosco.

Our Lady Help of Christians

In Don Bosco’s life, Mary is Mother; she is Mum, and as such, she is always present. She illuminated and directed his life and his choices since childhood. She accompanies his vocational path with her tender protection. In Don Bosco, the certainty of maternal mediation in the work of education is strong. He is convinced of how constructive and interiorly healing it is for young people to find or rediscover a Mother in Mary.

It means having the experience of being welcomed, of a love that nourishes, protects, defends, and lays the foundations of trust in oneself and in others. For Don Bosco, the presence of Mary is transformed into total surrender to her, so much so that he affirms several times, and especially in the last period of his life: “It is She who has done everything!”

“Mary most holy protects those who love her in all their needs, but she protects them especially at the hour of death.” Her love of her son Jesus at his death and resurrection extends to all of us.


Our Mums play an integral role in our lives as they care for us with unconditional love.

I have been fortunate to have spent time recently with my mother who lives interstate. Whilst separated by distance it is clear that love, compassion and hope is central to our mother-son relationship

Boys, I hope that take some time today (and every day) to thank your mum and to give her a hug and kiss. Show gratitude for the ongoing love and support provided to you.

As a Salesian boy, I have no doubt you have been nurtured, cared and supported by your Mother, some of who are present this morning at the breakfast. To our mothers, thank you for raising good men.

I extend a special invitation to our Year 7 Mothers to attend the Mother-Son Evening next week. This is a wonderful evening facilitated by Bill Jennings and an event you do not want to miss as it is a special rite-of-passage for you and your son that will strengthen the relationship as he begins adolescence.

I express my gratitude to the many people in our Salesian community who have contributed to our celebration this morning; Ms Suzie McErvale and her Marketing and Development team, Trudy Skarajew, Michelle Collins, Jonathon Stevens, Assistant Principal – Mission and Staff Culture Mrs Nadia Knight, Director of Events and Community Engagement Mr Matt Little, our College student leaders and tour ambassadors, College Rector Fr Joe, Leadership Team, Faith and Mission Team, Facilities, IT, and Administration teams.

Thank you.

To our mothers, thank you and enjoy the upcoming Mother’s Day with your family.

I finish today with a prayer to Mary Help of Christians.

Enjoy the breakfast and the opportunity to share in the morning together.

Pray for us, 0 Immaculate, Help of Christians, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Heavenly Father, place deep in our hearts the love of Mary, our help and the help of all Christians. May we fight vigorously for the faith here on earth, and may we one day praise your victories in heaven.

Our Lady Help of Christians.

Pray for us.

Mark Ashmore