Cardinal joins College celebration
St Ignatius College in Enfield has marked 120 years since its foundation with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Founded by the Society of Jesus in Stamford Hill in 1894, the school moved to its current site in 1968 and continues to enjoy a strong relationship with the Jesuits in Stamford Hill, with chaplains from the community visiting the school regularly. Among the concelebrants at the anniversary Mass was the new parish priest at St Ignatius, Fr David Smolira SJ, Fr Slawomir Witon (Dean and Parish Priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George) and Fr Paolo Bagini who recently joined the ministry team at St Monica’s Parish. The College also welcomed to the Mass governors, former headmasters, the Director of Education from the Westminster Diocese, representatives from the Education Department of the Borough of Enfield, headteachers from local Catholic Primary and Secondary schools and Alumni from the Old Ignatians’ Association.
In his homily, Cardinal Vincent spoke about the vision that founding Headmaster Fr Aloysius Cortie SJ must have had when he first taught the 40 boys under his care. Referring to the day’s Gospel reading, the Cardinal said: ‘Fr Cortie would not have been able to gaze into the future or foresee future events; yet, he still had the courage to sow the seeds that would bear fruit, 30, 60 and 100 fold, over a century later.’
Today, St Ignatius College boasts a student population of 1,200 boys, and four girls newly admitted to the sixth form as of this academic year. As Director of Education for Westminster Archdiocese and former Head Teacher JP Morrison explains: ‘The school continues to go from strength to strength. It has achieved its best ever results in recent examinations.’
Following the model of Jesuit schools, it strives to provide a sound, intellectual and technological formation as a means of helping each individual student achieve their full potential in becoming ‘men for others’, as the school motto declares.
During the offertory procession, pupils brought forward a microscope (below), a guitar and a football as symbols of their achievements and the achievements of their predecessors over the decades. The school’s illustrious alumni include Cardinal Heenan, film director Alfred Hitchcock, Beatles producer George Martin and journalist Brian Hanrahan, to name a few.
Showcasing some of this talent, a new mosaic celebrating the anniversary, designed by Assistant Head Catherine Goodwin and created with the help of some students and Art Start in Edmonton, was blessed by Cardinal Vincent. The mosaic (above) incorporates images of St Ignatius of Loyola, the Jesuit saints from whom each class takes its name, as well as references to Stamford Hill, the connection with St Ignatius Prep and Primary School in Tanzania, and the school badge.
The culture of confidence, discipline and hospitality is evident in the welcome given to visitors. As the College's new Executive Head Michael Kelly explains: ‘It’s a special place with a sense of warmth and family, where all, students, staff and governors, serve one another.’