St Columba’s College has been offering young women in the Essendon area the opportunity to achieve educational excellence since 1897.

The young women who attend this College inherit the rich tradition of the Church and the legacy of the Sisters of Charity. The history of the Order has been one of courageous and audacious action, of daring to go and be where others have paused or turned away. As the first congregation of religious women in Australia, they have been fervent in the pursuit of their vision of what it means to respond to the needs of the marginalised in all contexts, across all time, since those early days working with the female convicts in Parramatta.

When a young woman joins the St Columba’s community, she joins a long and distinguished history, and learns that she will, through her life and actions, add another chapter to the wonderful story of those women who are proud to call themselves ‘Charity’. The founder of the Sisters of Charity, Mary Aikenhead, left us a legacy that compels us to constantly reach out to others. Her gentle insistence that we each have the ability to transform ourselves and our world, remains the touchstone which continues to inspire us in our education of young women.  Being uncommon is embedded in our history.  Mary Aikenhead wanted her Sisters to be “contemplatives in action” and ‘extensively useful’. She took her Sisters to the streets of Ireland to serve the poor…  uncommon at this time.  And so began, an unbroken chain of women of vision, initiative and generosity who sought, and continue to seek, creative solutions to the complex challenges of their times.  They were to bravely break the mould of what was expected of them and to test the boundaries of how they were to respond.  That tradition continues today.

The Mission Statement of St Columba’s College calls our students to actively ‘transform the Church and renew the world’. They do this by striving to be young women who are faithful, compassionate and confident. They do this by dedicating themselves to a love of learning, to educational endeavour, to deepening of their faith and a personal commitment to justice. A St Columba’s woman is a person of tenacious conviction and action. She is educated in such a way that she becomes a lively and enacting member of her Church and a discerning and courageous member of her society.

The young women at St Columba’s College are busy. Within a vibrant learning culture, these young women are encouraged to approach their education with a sense of vigour and joy. Experiential, purposeful and connected, their learning experiences embrace a global context. St Columba’s women are imbued with the belief that opportunities should not just be taken, they should be seized.

At St Columba’s College, each student is valued as an individual – her voice is heard, her actions taken seriously, her self-image is affirmed, her achievements are celebrated and her leadership is encouraged. She becomes the young woman God created her to be.

It is our aim that students leave St Columba’s College both contented within themselves and discontented with the world around them. Our education programs teach students to understand and to accept themselves - as unique, as powerful, and as women who find contentment in the security of their relationship with their God. At the same time, we endeavour to plant in them the seeds of restlessness which will lead to the ability to view their world with discontent, with an ear to hear where they are called to change, and the discernment to know how to act appropriately, and bravely, to achieve this. 

I invite you to walk the many pathways that you will find here on this website, to gain an understanding of who we are and what we do, and to consider the part you could play.


Margaret McKenna, Principal

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