What gives life meaning to you, inspires you to keep on living, makes life worthwhile for you?
What gives you that fire to get up every morning or even at night when you don't want to but need to? What gives you the motivation to do the little things and face the big things in life? That is what a charism is, a gift from God that enables us to make sense out of life and motivates us to live life fully. A charism touches the very core of our existence and colors everything that we do as human beings. It allows us to see things in new ways, and to understand them even more wonderfully. We absorb a charism as we absorb sunshine, and we radiate a charism as a light pierces the darkness.
Pope Paul VI was the first to label "charism" specifically in relation to religious institutes. He explained that the charism of the religious life is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who is always at work within the Church.
In a religious congregation, the charism is spoken of as a gift to the founder or founders, "their own particular way of understanding and concretising the following of Jesus in the People of God." It is described as a mysterious energy and passion which inspires the founders to show a new face of God to the world.
Good Shepherd Catholic College is founded on the charism of Mary MacKillop and Edmund Rice. A charism is a gift from God for the Church and is the special way a person approaches life.
Mary MacKillop's charism may be summarised as:
- A radical trust in the Providence of God,
- A loyal service of the Church
- A readiness to discern the urgent needs of the time,
- Faith and courage to risk suffering and failure for the sake of the Kingdom,
- A life of poverty and prayer.
Edmund Rice’s charism may be summarised as:
- Providing holistic, quality Catholic education empowering our students to be people for others
- Embracing the diversity of each student and the support each person gives to another
- Fostering the Gospel values and traditions into each member of the community
- A continual strive for excellence