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The Marie Madeleine d'Houet Prize for Religious Writing

2009 marked a momentous milestone in the history of Genazzano, namely the celebration of 120 years as a Catholic Community. Many of the focus questions for this year’s award centred around aspects of this marvellous celebration. It was very pleasing to have 202 entries submitted for the second year of the award.

The aim of this annual competition is to enable the students at Genazzano to explore and share ideas and issues that emanate from the religious and faith education to which the girls have been exposed at Genazzano.

Below are a few examples from the winning entries

Marie Madeleine d’Houet looked after everyone with great love and care.
Who do you know who shows great love and care?

My Nanna.
My nanna believes in lots of things. She cares for other people and makes time for them. My nanna prays a lot in peace. She will always love me even if we’re miles away from each other. My nanna helps me when I’m hurt. She is a very caring lady and believes in me all the time.

Nanna makes time to spend with my family. Even though I don’t see her very often, I still remember she is in my heart. So my nanna is caring, spends time with people, helps people, prays with God and believes. She is the only nanna I will ever get in my whole life. I love her!!!

Alison Attard Grade 2

Marie Madeleine d’Houet’s family motto was ‘Do what is right and don’t worry what others say’.
What does this mean to you?

Marie Madeleine D’Houet is
Someone to see in others
A friend, a guide
A hand on your shoulder

Someone to remind you
You are not just another person
A comfort
A way to remember you can do things
You couldn’t have dreamed of

A foundress of many things
A setter of standards

A life with limb
An air with fidelity
The wind blowing you forward

She’s not afraid
And has great compassion
Passion for peace

Antonia Langenegger Grade 4

How is Marie Madeleine’s life an exercise in discipleship?
In your answer give examples and show how the Companionship of the FCJ’s is an attempt to
               become a true disciple of Christ.

… Marie Madeleine believed that everyone lives for a purpose and her purpose was to serve God and help others. We should question what our purpose is. It does not matter who you are, where you come from or what you do, you will always have a purpose in life. Your calling could be waiting around the corner. Once you find a passion for something, do not let it go. Marie Madeleine has taught me to never give up, strive for what you believe in and most importantly find your passion. In the end, your passion will be the thing that helps you achieve your best and reach your dreams. Your passion will get you through the hard times and most importantly, your passion will guide you through your decisions during your lifetime.

Veronica Clinch 11B (an excerpt from Veronica’s essay)

Discuss a couple of the leadership qualities Marie Madeleine possessed.
How does she provide a model of leadership for your life today?

… Through her many triumphs and tragedies Marie Madeleine d’Houet always displayed an inner strength of selfless loyalty and determination. Her ability to aid the needy and to unite women to accomplish God’s will have been so inspirational. Her inner strength and ability to overcome adversity and personal tragedy, such as her husband’s death of typhoid disease and her father’s imprisonment during the French Revolution, and later his death in prison truly set Marie Madeleine d’Houet apart. She is a true inspiration, someone we can all aspire to be. She has, for me, proven that grief should not stop one from striving for and accomplishing all they can in life. She has also demonstrated such generosity that only a true leader and hero could possibly have. …

… I am truly honoured to be part of Genazzano and as I travel through my life’s journey I know that I will face many triumphs, adversities and challenges. But Marie Madeleine d’Houet’s courage and fortitude will be with me, and when I face such obstacles, she will be a model of determination and courage to guide me.

Miranda Aprile 7F (an excerpt from Miranda’s essay)

“Courage and confidence”. These were the words of Marie Madeleine D’houet. She followed these words throughout her life in the joyous times and the hard. Marie Madeleine was a role model for all women then and today. Marie Madeleine prayed to God to show her what he wanted her to do so she could do it faithfully and happily. For many years she persevered to find her mission in life. Marie Madeleine was determined, even stubborn, to find her calling and fulfil God’s plan for her.

Claire Warrillow 6B (an excerpt from Claire’s essay)

We have inherited the traditions that Marie Madeleine believed important.
How important is this inheritance in the world of the 21st century? How is it expressed today?

… I still remember one of the first assignments I ever had to complete. It was an RE project on Marie Madeleine d’Houet, foundress of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. Beyond my general understanding that ‘the other building’ was named after her, I knew very little about Marie Madeleine. To say her life story made a strong impression on me at the time would be an exaggeration, but I did start to notice her influence in the school.

Genazzano has always maintained a significant focus on social justice, so much so that it’s no longer a responsibility; it’s a given. Mission Stalls, the Companionship Program, Make Poverty History group, regular clothing and food donations – charity and generosity are ingrained into the College identity. The compassion of the Genazzano community is part of who we are, and who are we not to give to others when we have so much? …

Kate Weston 10E (an excerpt from Kate’s essay)

…  The traditions inherited from Marie Madeleine d’Houet can never be redundant as it is their focus on helping others and the essence of service, love and compassion that can challenge each individual and the world. These traditions are immoveable and engrained into the FCJ mission and expressed through the work of the Sisters, the work of the schools which carry the FCJ name and every good action that puts the need of others before personal interests. Marie Madeleine devoted her work to God and with each act of love we fulfil the mission of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, and their foundress and answer God’s thirst for love.

Claire Prowse 9A (an excerpt from Claire’s essay)

Ang among Kapunungan naningkamot diha
     sa pagdayeg sa kasing-kasing ni Hesus
           inubanan sa Iyang panabang    (Marie Madeleine)