HOUSE PATRON – SR ROSARIE CONNELL
Sister Rosarie Connell was the sixth of ten children of the Connells, share farmers of a small property between Grong Grong and Matong. Sister Rosarie’s love for the world’s beauty, for small blessings, and her concern for people, perhaps had its roots in the hardships endured by the family in those most difficult years. Rosarie won a state scholarship to Mount Erin, completed her schooling there and entered the convent in March 1921.
Rosarie was, for some time, in charge of the boarding school, and principal of Mount Erin High School. On foreseeing the difficulties which would arise from the introduction of the Wyndham Scheme, she experimented with co-educational classes for the year 11 Mount Erin girls and the Year 11 St. Michael’s boys.
From this experiment emerged her concept of what became Trinity Senior High School. Her faith, determination and outspokenness overcame considerable opposition from both within the church and the wider community. In January 1968 her dream became a reality with the opening of Trinity Senior High School. Sister Rosarie was appointed as the founding principal. For her exceptional educational abilities and her involvement in education, she was invited to become a member of the governing bodies of the then Riverina College of Advanced Education and the Murray Institute of Higher Education, and in 1988 Sturt University awarded her a Doctor of Education honoris causa. At her death in 2006 the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser paid tribute to her as “One of Wagga’s most recognised and distinguished educators.” The Trinity Senior High School board of management wrote that “her contribution to the standing and life of the school was unique.”
Rosarie was a cultured woman – artistic (she designed the Trinity school badge), a musician, an expert needlewoman, a scientist, and a writer (she wrote and published the centennial history of the Mount Erin boarding school and later a series of photographs of the Mount Erin chapel windows with a biography of the donors).
She said of herself, “I do not see myself as a public figure or an academic, I’m a working woman with my hands in the dough.” This is indeed what she was – a creative woman of great faith and courage, with a deep personal love of her God and all God’s creation, all of which were observable in her use of her many gifts, and her committed involvement in the dough of life to enhance the life of others.
The symbols included on the Rosarie House Shield are significant for the patron Sister Rosarie Connell, PBVM.
Cardinal Red, Rosarie House colour, represents the qualities of energy, action, strength, determination, attention, willpower, vigor, leadership, and courage. Sr Rosarie displayed all of these traits throughout her lifetime and she was well-known as a distinguished educator and administrator. Sister Rosarie is widely acknowledged for her pioneering role in the foundation of co-educational senior high schools in the Riverina area. The bordering colour, silver, signifies sincerity and the outside border itself symbolises honour.
The Alpha Omega symbol inside the triangle represents the Crest of Trinity Senior High School. Sr Rosarie founded this school and it was one of the first co-education senior schools in Australia. The crest for Trinity Senior High School was designed by Sr Rosarie herself. Its main symbols were the alpha and omega meaning “the first and the last, the beginning and the end” and the triangle represents the Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Lantern represents the mission of the religious order to which Sr Rosarie dedicated her life. Sr Rosarie was a Presentation Sister and had described herself as ‘the travelling nun’. This links her to Nano Nagle, the Presentation Sister’s founder, who was often called ‘the walking nun’.
The image of the hands kneading the dough is a true reflection of how Sr Rosarie saw her own role in life. She was often quoted as saying, “I don’t see myself as a public figure or an academic. I’m a working woman with my hands in the dough”. Others referred to Sr Rosarie as a visionary thinker, well before her time in so many things that she applied herself to. Her dedication and her humble way were qualities that all should strive for; kneading the dough of life.