St Mary’s Catholic School began in 1986 and was built in three stages. St Mary’s school was started in the Marist tradition with an emphasis and devotion to Mary. The Oblate Fathers’ serve the Parish of Mary Immaculate Eagle Vale in the Church next to the school. Our school takes on the Charism of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who have been a part of the school since its foundations in 1986.
The Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was St Eugene de Mazenod who was ordained as a priest in 1811. He wanted to help the poor and tried new ways to reach out to young people because he wanted them to come to understand the love Jesus has for us and how important it is to practice their Catholic faith. In doing this he began to have a love for missionary work and realised that priests in a parish could help people become dedicated to their faith.
So that this could be done, in 1826, St Eugene began a new religious order of priests. These priests were to be missionary priests and were to be called The Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In 1837, Eugene became a bishop. He became known for his loyalty and love for the Pope. He remained head of the Oblates until he died in 1861. The great work Eugene de Mazenod started many years ago, continues today through the Oblate missionaries around the world. His feast day is 21 May.
Mrs Marie Debusch (1993-1996) was the first lay principal. Mrs Luisa Tobin assumed Principalship from 1997-2012, followed by Mr Don Spencer (2012 – 2019). Mrs Tina Murray is currently principal.
On 19 December 1999 Bishop Philip Wilson officially opened our new Parish church. In 2005, Bishop Peter Ingham decreed that our school name would change from St Mary’s to Mary Immaculate Parish Primary School. This change would further strengthen the strong ties with the parish. Hence, our new school logo which reflects a merging of the Mary Immaculate Parish Logo and the previous St Mary’s Logo.
Read more about What We Offer at Mary Immaculate.
Catholic schools have a long and proud history in the Australian educational landscape. Originally established by orders of brothers, nuns and priests in the nineteenth century, they are now almost entirely staffed and led by lay people.
Catholic systemic schools in the Diocese of Wollongong are either parish primary schools like Mary Immaculate, or diocesan secondary or K-12 schools. They are all co-educational schools. (The diocese also has another seven independent congregational secondary schools, some of which offer single-sex education.)
Catholic schools have a unique character because as well as being places where learning is highly valued, they are places where priority is given to a values-based education in the Catholic faith. This involves all staff and students proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. Staff identify strongly with their school and take pride in their work and the school’s achievements.