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Official Opening of Helene Province Building at Ave Maria College

Monday 9 September 2019

 Media and Communications Office
 
 
 

The Helene Province building at Ave Maria College in Aberfeldie was officially opened and blessed by Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli last Thursday.

Designed by Hayball Architects and built by Melbcon Construction, the Helene Province honours Helene de Chappotin, Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary who established Ave Maria College in 1963.

The new building provides a home for Year 9, 10 and 11 mentor groups, and specialist learning spaces for Food Technology and Materials Technology.

The Helene Province completes the second stage of the college’s Master Building Plan, and was supported by the state government, Catholic Development Fund, College Board of Governance and internal resources.

Deputy Premier James Merlino recently launched the Victorian Government’s Non-Government Schools Capital Fund. The fund provides $402 million over four years for building new schools, expanding existing schools or upgrading existing learning facilities. 

 
 
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Following its opening by Deputy Premier James Merlino in June, the Helene Province at Ave Maria College, Aberfeldie, has been blessed by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli. Georgia, a Year 12 student and budding journalist, reflects on this significant moment in the history of the college.

The spirit of Ave Maria was truly alive at the opening and blessing of the Helene Province with guests, students and staff gathering to christen Ave Maria College’s newest addition to its campus. One could certainly feel the presence of God as the Archbishop gifted the area with his blessing in conjunction with Aboriginal Catholic Ministry representative Sherry Balcombe’s smoking ceremony to baptise and cleanse the space.
 
Archbishop Peter described the Helene Province as ‘marvellous facilities that would build this community of education and faith’. Principal Elizabeth Hanney articulated the hope for the future of the Helene Province as the ‘full flourishing of our young women’, exemplified by the senior student leadership team. 

Current Mayor and former student Narelle Sharpe deemed the new building ‘amazing’. Franciscan Missionaries of Mary representative Sr Heather Weedon said she was ‘astounded at the contemporary design which was so comfortable for the students. The Mass was also beautifully and tastefully done.’ Also present was the project’s lead architect, Marissa Cavalchini, a former student of the college. The ceremony’s magical atmosphere was heightened by Mr Minty and the vocal ensemble, who serenaded with mesmerising hymns and captivating solo performances from many talented student vocalists and musicians.

Named after Helene de Chappotin, beloved founder of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and inspiration behind the key values of the college, the new Helene Province truly exemplifies her energy, intellect and engagement with others. Ave Maria College’s senior academic captains, Madeline Saxton and Chloe Dalla-Fontana, shared an inspirational dedication to this strong woman, encapsulating her mission in four definitive words: passion, Francis, Mary and mission.

The ceremony was drawn to a close with the unveiling of the plaque, signalling yet another step forward in the education of young women.
 
 
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