Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    We Are Ignatian

    Article by Mr Paul Lewis

    'We are Ignatian'

    New Homeroom Names

    We have two new Homerooms this year at Saint Ignatius College: 7 Strada and 12 Barry.

    7 Strada is named after La Madonna della Strada, meaning Our Lady of the Wayside or Our Lady of the Good Road. It is believed it was a place in Rome where Ignatius worked helping women, including victims of abuse. It is also believed that originally a shrine was built on the site and then a church which is now the location of the Gesù Church of Rome.         

    Madonna della Strada or Santa Maria Della Strada is also the name of an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, enshrined at the Church of the Gesù in Rome, the “mother church” of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

    The Madonna della Strada is the patroness of the Society of Jesus. The Founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was said to have been protected by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary during battles in his time as a soldier.

    There is also a chapel at Loyola University Chicago named Madonna della Strada, and it was recently recognised as one of the most beautiful college chapels in the world; see

    12 Barry is named after Sr Gonzaga Barry or Mary Gonzaga Barry who was born in 1834 in Wexford, Ireland. She was the daughter of John Barry, banker, and his wife Elizabeth, nee Cowan.  She was educated at the Loreto Abbeys in Ireland (Gorey in 1848-51 and Rathfarnham in 1851-53) and became a Loreto nun.

    In response to an appeal by the Bishop of Ballarat for the Loreto Sisters to come to Australia Mother Gonzaga led a group of nuns to Ballarat in 1875.  The Loreto Sisters had already won wide renown as a teaching order and it had attracted to its ranks educated women who provided a superior education for girls. Mother Gonzaga quickly responded to this need in Ballarat and started the Loreto schools that we still have in Australia today. Her vision for the education of girls contributed to a broad and rich curriculum and led to her being a significant influence in the development of education within Australia.

    Today, there are seven Loreto Schools in Australia and over 90 throughout the rest of the world.

    The Loreto sisters were founded by Mary Ward and in terms of religious orders they are regarded as the female equivalent to the Jesuits. 

    Mother Gonzaga died in Ballarat in 1915 after a life of educating girls and travelling widely in Australia and abroad, always keeping her Sisters informed about new methods in teaching and administration.

     Kind regards,

    Mr Paul Lewis  Deputy Principal [Staff, Identity and Operations]


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