Marymount Day is our school feast day and is celebrated each year on (or about) September 8, Our Lady’s birthday, with a combined Primary school and College Mass in the Doyle Centre. Marymount Day is an opportunity for both schools to celebrate our part in this wonderful community, to celebrate the Liturgy of the Word and to acknowledge our devotion to Mary, our patron saint.
For centuries, Christians have viewed Mary through a ‘lens’ which was appropriate for their needs and priorities at the time. Mary has also been represented through the most beautiful and moving of artworks ranging from Byzantine images to Michelangelo’s Pieta. Fr Kevin Ryan presents Mary as a young, poor, pregnant teenager going on to be an unwed mother in a land where women amounted to very little. Her homeland was occupied by invading forces where violence was common and opportunity was limited. From this setting we hear her song of liberation, singing the praises of a loving God who has chosen her for a mighty role.
With this in mind, a modern view of Mary cannot be complete without some reference to her inner strength and her song of liberation in the Magnificat, the Gospel reading used on Marymount Day. In this reading, Mary is transformed from a voiceless peasant to a radical prophet whose message is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed; for The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown might with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, And sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (Luke 1:46-56)
Her call for the raising up of the voiceless, oppressed and marginalised is crucial today in a time where self-centeredness, violence and poverty are very much the reality for some. With war, starvation and medical disasters such as the AIDS epidemic in some parts of the world, we Christians need to look to alternatives in our own lives to promote peace to those we encounter daily and to make some effort to balance the differences between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Never in history is the world in more need for people to stand up for the marginalized. On this day, the Marymount community donate food to the Infant Saviour Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society. In recent years the food donated has supplied the needy of our parish, the “have nots”, for up to six months and has freed the Society to use valuable funds for other ventures. This day is so important not only in our school prayer life but also in our living out of our mission to recognise and embrace our role in building a better world.