Over the last decade or so, some Rockwell staff have “walked in the footprints” of the Spiritan Founders, Des Places and Libermann, on Pilgrimage in the Sorbonne University area of Paris. They have been accompanied by staff from other Spiritan schools and members of the Spiritan Education Trust. It is a connectivity that is encouraged in order to collaborate and share professional experiences within the Spiritan tradition.


This collaboration experience has also happened among the students from Spiritan schools during the Spiritan Youth Days (SYD) that were organised by the former Faith Development officer, Ms Orla Walsh. Collaborative work continues to this day among students, led by enthusiastic teachers and chaplains with Development Education days, Retreats and other Educational Ventures. At the helm currently is Ronan Barry who enhances, leads and oversees the spiritual and sacramental dimension of Spiritan students, as well as those who lead such students, the dedicated chaplains and teachers.


Rockwell students have been involved in several initiatives promoting the Spiritan ethos which deserve mentioning. Current 6th year students Sam Tarleton and Hugo O’Donnell were responsible for putting together an induction pamphlet that is presented to new teacher arrivals to Rockwell. It is to inform the new teachers as to the type of school they have come to so they get a sense of its mission, vision and purpose. The magnificent stain glassed window in Roe House is featured on the front page of the pamphlet depicting life in Rockwell in all its aspects. It really is an eye-catching pamphlet and it’s a credit to Sam and Hugo in designing such a creative piece of work.


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Sam Tarleton with Hugo O’Donnell, 6th years, presenting Mr Niall McGonagle with the Induction Pamphlet.

Another 6th year student Sean Walsh had a wonderful experience while he was in Transition Year, one which embodied the Spiritan ethos in its totality. In an article which Sean wrote this spring for the African Missionary, a joint SMA (Society of African Missions) OLA (Our Lady of Apostles) Newsletter, Sean outlined his missionary experience staying with his uncle, Fr Martin Walsh SMA. He was in the North Western Province of South Africa, close to the Zambezi River, in the town of Sesobe. In Sean’s article he describes experiences such as, daily parish life, getting caught up in protest riots, funerals, slaughtering cows, stranded buses, winter roads affected by rainfall and the inequalities of South African life. Sean also met up with Fr Noel Gillespie SMA. It is a great personal article, the whole of which can be read at :

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Sean Walsh at work on the Missions in North Western Province, South Africa


The most recent project undertaken by Rockwell Transition Year Students 2018/19 on the Spiritan Ethos was to produce posters of prominent Spiritan figures from the French and Irish Provinces. Brendan Cantwell and Cian Meaney, supported by Mr Pat Egan, TY Coordinator, researched various personalities from the Spiritan Tradition and stylishly put together several business canvases to put on the walls of, not just Rockwell, but other Spiritan schools too.


Posters completed included the Founders of Des Places and Libermann; Pierre Brottier, who was instrumental in setting up Third Level Technical Skills Colleges, known in France as Apprentis d’Auteuil; Fr Joseph Shanahan, the most famous Rockwellian Priest who did trojan work on the mission fields in Nigeria and Kenya; and, as the most recent building development in Rockwell is the Changing Room Pavilion, named after Fr Aidan Lehane, then it is only fitting that a poster would adorn the walls within this building in honour of a priest who has the distinction of being President of all the five Spiritan secondary schools in Ireland. Some of these business canvases have been sent to the other Spiritan schools who’ve requested them.


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This Rockwell Ethos initiative was presented at one of the three yearly meetings of the Ethos committee. It is great to see Rockwell students playing their part in collaborating and excelling in the twofold pillars of what the Spiritans were founded for, education and missions. I want to thank them for their personal commitment to this work.

Niall McGonagle, Chairman of the Spiritan Ethos Committee.