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This year, the Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst (CEDB) has facilitated two Aboriginal Spirituality days for our schools and CEDB staff. These sessions were held in Perthville and Wellington with teachers and support staff from our schools and the Diocese in attendance. Both days began beautifully with God providing us with a warming sun, fresh breezes and clear blue skies. Our Aboriginal Elders added to this a Smoking Ceremony and a Welcome to Country. It was an awesome way to begin both days, as we gathered around a fire. Learnt about the significance of both these ceremonies and cleansed our spirits as we opened our hearts and minds to new learnings with the help of our Aboriginal Ancestors.

The Aboriginal Spirituality days were all about providing experiences, ideas and ways in which to embed Aboriginal spirituality in everyday life in our schools whilst demonstrating how Aboriginal Spirituality and the Catholic faith go hand in hand.

The day included many highlights, such as:
 The “Land, Water and Fire” ceremony which combines prayer and knowledge of both Aboriginal spirituality and Catholicism.
 A deep and practical look at available resources such as the Aboriginal Sacramental and Stations of the Cross poster packs and the Catholic Schools NSW Aboriginal Spirituality booklet, just to name a few.
 Our teachers were given the opportunity to create their own painted crucifix to include in their prayer or sacred spaces in their schools.

Each day ended with a special gift, that of Dadirri – an “inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness” practice. We learnt about this special quality that is something like contemplation, where we listened to Aunty Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr and spent some time on mother earth in quiet reflection. Aunty Gloria Rogers completed the day with a water blessing, we did this in honour of our ancestors and asked for them “to make and keep us strong in body, mind and spirit.”

Leanne Bovington
Aboriginal Cultural Liaison Officer
Catholic Education Diocese Bathurst