Our Catholic Identity

Since 1973, the St Catherine’s community has grown, evolved and thrived through a multi-faceted focus valuing a combination of elements; our Patron Saint and school charism. 
St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School embraces: 
  • Saint Catherine of Labouré - spent forty years caring for the poor, elderly and sick, in a hospice just outside of Paris, she also worked on the hospice farm, caring for the animals and is a true image and symbol of kindness, humility, compassion, charity and devotion.
  • The spirituality and charism of Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters – united with God in contemplation, supporting education as a vehicle of liberation for the vulnerable and the powerless, and her never-ending compassion and love for those in need of any kind. 
  • God’s Covenant – the rainbow as a sign of hope of God’s promise to always be by our side. The St Catherine’s School Covenant, detailing our vision and values can be found here
Buildings around the school are named after key people and elements connected with our school'​s Catholic Identity. 

For example: 
The Labouré Library – named after Patron Saint, Catherine Labouré, highlighting her ongoing compassion and care. 

The Nano Nagle Centre – a space for gathering as a community. In this space you will see the Nano Nagle icon on display, sharing the rich story of her life and work. The icon is explained in greater detail below. 

The Nano Nagle icon is displayed beautifully in the entrance of our main community gathering space, the Nano Nagle Centre. Irish artist, Desmond Kyne (born 1923) presents the artwork in a contemporary way, sharing the story and spirit of Nano Nagle.  The artwork shares her experiences of enlightenment and commitment, risk and courage, joy and pain, energy and stillness, and success and failure. The icon invites the people in our school community to connect and reflect with the story and to apply the spirit of Nano Nagle. 

​Left Side Panel

​Centre Panel

​Right Panel

  • ​Nano's devotion to the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament.
The Youthful Image: In the centre stands Nano portrayed as calm, patient and enduring. Her message and her example apply across cultures and time. 
  • ​The Presentation of Mary to God: dating back to the Mosaic law, we see Mary rising from the mystical Rose of Sharon and the seven-branched candlestick. The Star of David is a symbol of the Incarnation and the small cross in the heart in the elongated spiral signifies the redemption of mankind.
  • ​Nano's teaching in the cramped cabin schools of 1766-1771 under lantern-light.
The Spiral Motif: Rich in colours, the spiral is a symbol of Eternity and of the Divinity. 
  • ​​The founding of the Presentation Sisters in Cork, 1775.
  • ​A symbolic landscape of Irish penal days
The Arm of Christ: Raised with the wound received at the crucifixion as if to protect others, Jesus' arm reflects his promise to the faithful of inner strength to overcome difficulties. Nano's faith and trust in God demonstrated what God could do even in circumstances of little obvious success in her own lifetime. 
  • ​​Children throughout the nations are taught by the Presentations Sisters
  • ​The skilful lawyer, Joseph Nagle, helps his niece, Nano, to negotiate the dangerous time during which she worked for the people of Cork.
​The Holy Spirit: The wings and seven tongues of fire symbolise the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit, the source of Nano's wisdom and love. 
  • ​A new symbol for the Presentation Sisters. The “M” for Mary contains the hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the oak leaves and acorns suggest the efforts of the Sister for the growth of God’s Kingdom
  • ​Nano makes her way, by light of the lantern, through lanes and alleyways.
The Sacred Heart: The compassion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus informed Nano's spiritual life and service: One with humankind and One with the Father. 
  • ​The flame of the spirit: We join Nano and the Presentation Sisters in bringing the flame of the spirit to the children and families in our care, at St Catherine's. 
  • ​The Fleur de Lys and the Cork coat-of-arms signify Ireland's links with France during this time. It also is a symbol of Nano's link with the French Ursuline sisters.   The mitre illustrates Bishop Moylan's support for Nano and her Sisters.
The Blackwater River: Nano was born at Ballygriffin where the Blackwater River connects with the beauty of the land, the vegetation, the hills, and the sun. This was her loved family homeland. The ruined castle on the riverbank was once owned by her ancestors.   

​Cork: The buildings and bridges of Cork remind us of where Nano cared for the poor and the children. Many of the children and young people were exploited or abused and left unsupported. In the centre of the group of children is the image of the Lamb of God. In Jesus' life, as well, innocence and love were partnered by suffering. 

​© Brisbane Catholic Education, St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, 2023