The recent renaming of Francois House and addition of Le Rosey and Ludovic Houses has provided a great opportunity to examine the importance of a name. At Marist, the House names help provide key areas of identity and culture, and allow the students within the House something to gravitate towards. We recognise the names as critically important, so it begs the question- how were these new names chosen?

There were several key criteria used to help create a shortlist of names for the two new houses. Firstly, a priority is given to names that are significant to the gospels of Christ and the early Marist story. Other key criteria included Saints of the Catholic Church, and important figures in Church History. The list of potential candidates was endless and potentially overwhelming. Strong and powerful names such as Pope John XXIII, St Francis De Sales, Mary Mackillop, Pope Francis, St Catherine of Siena, Bede Polding, Marian, and Stella Maris were all debated, discussed, and discerned. It was enlightening to hear how each name inspired people, and the reasons why certain names were favoured over others. I imagine if we surveyed 100 people, we would nearly come up with 100 different names, such is the richness and breadth of wonderful examples in the Marist and Catholic Church history. It was also humbling when your own favourite name got knocked out of contention in the early shortlist voting (I had a strong liking of St Francis De Sales!)

Interestingly, the team of staff looking at the shortlist for the introduction of the two new Houses felt very strongly about the first criteria, that the names should reflect something of our Marist story. Whilst many schools have a range of different rationales for the naming of their Houses, Marist College Canberra’s House names all tell a part of the Marist Project, to bring Jesus to life in the hearts of all its students. From its foundation in Father Champagnat’s ministry in the town of LaValla, all the way through the early Australian Marist schools Like St Patrick’s and Darlinghurst, to important men who have served at Marist Canberra in Br Mark and Br McMahon.

It is heartening to know that the Marist spirituality continues to be so important to our culture at Marist Canberra. The names, characteristics, and places all bear fruit for the boys and staff to build an identity around. We would be wrong to assume that Marcellin is solely responsible for every part of the Marist story, and the final selection has chosen three incredible Marist names, worthy of building a House around.

Each name provides another key marker in the Marist Canberra story and a goal for our boys to strive and connect to. They are names, which, no doubt will inspire for many years to come. 

Liam Stakelum
Deputy Headmaster