Past Pupil Profile: Fare Forward Francesca!
Across the first part of the year the Loreto Centre in Hawthorn has been blessed by the presence and passion of Mary Ward International Australia intern, Francesca Torcasio Barberis. Animal lover, Loreto Toorak past pupil, St Omer Scholarship recipient and recent Monash Science graduate, Francesca has volunteered each Wednesday supporting Kirstin DelBeato, MWIA’s Programmes Manager with a research and policy statement project.
Francesca highlights many shaping influences in her life to date: her Italian heritage, love of languages, passion for justice and hospitality, eclectic academic interests, creativity and profound experiences on immersion encounters in Malaysia, India and Arnhem Land. Francesca credits her broad and deep educational experience at Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak as fostering: her compassion for others, understanding that there are many ways of engaging with the world, and her standards of excellence.
Her fearless attitude and belief that one must jump in and grasp every opportunity that presents itself is evident through one of her favourite quotes –“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship” – Louisa May Alcott.
During our short interview Francesca reflected on the Loreto post-school experiences that she has engaged in. Her Loreto Toorak St Omer Scholarship placement at the Darljeeling Social Centre provided Francesca with on-the-ground experience of community-led projects and deep insight into organisational culture as well as her own inner resourcefulness in the face of loneliness and disequilibrium. Francesca’s desire to have an impact on the world and connect with the bigger issues our fragile planet faces led her to the MWIA internship, where she has deepened her understanding of Mary Ward’s relevance for our time, not only as a social activist but as a human being desirous to explore possibilities, break down barriers and provoke curiosity for new ways of embracing challenges and problems.
In the few months since completing her undergraduate degree – Science Advanced – Global Challenges, Francesca has tutored a peer at St Albans through the Eddie Rice tutoring programme, worked in a pet shop and volunteered with MWIA. As she heads off now on her own pilgrimage into the wonderful unknown of the big wide world I am reminded of Mary Ward’s great trust and faith in God’s unfurling path. Francesca’s openness to life’s possibilities, sense of adventure and trust in life’s leading attest to a deeply discerning heart. Look out Mary Ward-world! Open your hearts and homes to Francesca if she turns up on your doorstep. I can assure you that you will be enriched and enlightened by this young woman of integrity and intelligence, kindness and compassion.
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country” – Anais Nin.
Farewell and fare forward, Francesca!! And … thank you.
Director of Mission, Loreto Ministries