26 January is the official National Day of Australia. It’s the day which marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip.
The first Brigidine Sisters arrived in Australia from Ireland in 1883 and since then generations of Brigidines have set up schools and other ministries, thus engaging in various educational, social and religious challenges.
Australia Day offers an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Australian today, to celebrate contemporary Australia and to acknowledge our history.
This includes acknowledging our indigenous Australians, all migrants and refugees who now call Australia ‘home’ and those other citizens born in Australia. It also includes acknowledging actions that have caused hurt and being willing to work together for justice and reconciliation.
The words and sentiments of the Australian national anthem is our prayer on this national holiday:
“Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil, our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare;
In hist’ry’s page, let ev’ry stage Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia fair”.