Presentation Reflection Walk |  Mary/St Columba (Station 8)

Station 08 Mary and St Columba

Station 8 –

Mary/St Columba

Location: North of Convent

Audio: Read by Sister Mary Mackin PBVM, Presentation Sister, Head Girl and Dux of the Class of 1966 and Past Staff Member.

In 1907 Bishop Gibney, then Bishop of Perth, remarked that Mosman Park situated between river and sea reminded him of the Isle of Iona (Scottish coast). Hence, Iona Presentation College was named after the Isle of Iona off Scotland. Like Saint Columba and his fellow monks, the founding Presentation Sisters hoped that Iona Presentation College would become a centre of outstanding learning, hospitality, Catholic spirituality, and generous Christian service in Western Australia and beyond.

St Columba founded the Abbey on the Isle of Iona in 563 AD. He was a prince from an Irish noble family. In his youth St Columba became a priest and a missionary monk, founding several monastic houses in Ireland before being forced into exile. In 563, he and twelve companions arrived on the island of Iona.

For the next 34 years, St Columba and his monks, from their base on Iona, pursued an intense life of prayer, study and reflection combined with an active missionary outreach, in what has now come to be known as Celtic Christianity. Their Abbey came to be known throughout the area as a centre of incredible learning, healing, and hospitality. Their missionary method was to go out in small groups, set up their huts in the midst of their pagan neighbours (Columba called them "colonies of heaven"), and seek to attract people to the Gospel by their communal way of life, their joy-filled care for all, and the preaching and practice of their faith. They then returned and withdrew to the contemplative life in the Abbey to be re-charged by God and their time of contemplative prayer together in preparation for their next wave of missionary activity. St Columba died in 597. Columba's successors, still based on Iona, carried on the work he started, extending their missionary outreach to the north of England and eventually into continental Europe. (The Abbey remained an important place of worship, prayer, pilgrimage, and missionary activity until the Reformation in 1560, after which monastic life came to an end for a while.)

The statue of St Columba at Iona is of uncertain origins. However, it was refurbished in 2020, repairing his right hand which had been damaged. His 'new' hand was reconstructed based on a study of old photos of the undamaged statue and more contemporary digital scanning of St Columba. This allowed for his replacement hand to be digitally sculptured and cast in concrete using a 3D-printed mould of his hand. After his hand was reaffixed, the statue was repainted to bring St Columba back to his former glory, overlooking Iona, high on a hill between river and sea.

In years gone by, during the month of May, the Presentation Sisters used to select one student who would be dressed in white to 'crown' the statue of Mary and both the Sisters and the students would participate in a procession around the statue whilst praying the Rosary.

The 'Our Lady of Fatima' archway (Station 6) was originally installed over the statue of Mary. The archway was relocated due to some landscaping works to secure the base upon which the statue of Mary sits.


Written Contribution from Sister Terri Emslie PBVM

Oral Contributions from Sister Mary Mackin PBVM and Sister Maureen Moynihan PBVM