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The Marie Madeleine d'Houet Prize for Religious Writing: 2010
Genazzano FCJ College, Melbourne, Australia

Genazzano logo.In 2008, Genazzano FCJ College celebrated the anniversary of Marie Madeleine d' Houet's birth. The College inaugurated a writing prize in her memory called 'The Marie Madeleine d'Houet Prize for Religious Writing'.

In its third year the Award focused again on the story of Marie Madeleine d'Houet and the College theme for 2010 – 'Courage and Faith'. Students were invited to submit a piece of religious writing about a faith experience that has been meaningful to them. It was very pleasing to have over 50 entries submitted. The prize was divided into four categories, each with different topic questions (Year P to 2, Year 3 to 4, Year 5 to 8 and Year 9 to 10).

The aim of this annual competition is to enable the students at Genazzano to explore and share ideas and issues that emanate from the religious and faith education to which the girls have been exposed at Genazzano.

Below are a few examples from the winning entries.

Marie Madeleine d'Houet was a woman of great courage and faith. She prayed often to God to help her in her times of need. Write or draw about a time in your life when you have called on prayer to help give you courage and strength?
When I went into the tunnel it was very dark so I prayed that I would be brave. Mother Mary helped me.

Angeline Vu Prep

I showed courage and faith when I dived in the deep end at Genazzano. I was worried because I thought that I would drown. I prayed to God and I had a go and I did it! The teacher was saying "Come on! You can do it." When I had a go I felt proud of myself.
Alessia Massarotti Year 1

Marie Madeleine d'Houet showed great courage and faith throughout her life. Write or draw about a time when you have showed great courage or faith.
The time when I needed Courage and Faith was when my grandpa died in hospital. When my dad said my grandpa died I cried and I was very upset but I had to be brave. Marie Madeleine d'Houet was upset when her husband died. I know she prayed to God to give her Courage and Faith.
Mikayla Furlan Year 2

Marie Madeleine d'Houet's family motto was "Do what is right and don't worry what others say." Think about things that have happened in your life so far. Tell us about a time when you have done the right thing and not worried about what other people have said.
...A time in my life when I have followed this motto is when my two cousins, Adria and Caitlyn, and I were practising a script which was a blend of two videos. We were planning to film it for their father's birthday and I was supposed to be Charlie the Unicorn. Then I had to say a rude word and I didn't want to, so I said no. Adria said, "Come on, just this once," and I really didn't want to fall out with her but I still refused. Then Caitlyn suggested that we blot out the rude word, and so we did. I was quite happy that I didn't get into trouble!
Marie Madeleine d'Houet's motto is something that I will always treasure and try to follow.
Eloise Lee Tze Rei Year 4 (an excerpt from Eloise's essay)

Both Marie Madeleine d'Houet and Mary MacKillop responded wholeheartedly and with joy to God's calling. How did they demonstrate great courage and faith whilst devoting their lives to God?
Mary MacKillop and Marie Madeleine d'Houet were women of great courage and faith in the way they led others and through the way they devoted their lives to God. This topic is important to me because it shows how inspirational but also how spiritual and prayerful women can be...
Both women showed great faithfulness to their work, they are great role models to young women through their courage, confidence, obedience, gentleness and faith. I believe these women empower our Catholic community and most importantly our Christian womanhood.
Isabelle Zupan Year 5 (an excerpt from Isabelle's essay)

...Marie Madeleine d'Houet and Mary MacKillop are perfect examples of 'women at the foot of the cross.' Both growing up in completely different life styles and circumstances, Marie Madeleine and Mary MacKillop both had the same desire to devote their lives to God. As they responded to God's calling and became nuns – one starting a Religious Institute, the Sisters of Saint Joseph's, and the other founding a nuns order, The Faithful Companions of Jesus; they had their ups and downs, their streaks of good luck, and their rough patches...
As we commemorate Marie Madeleine's greatness, and as we celebrate for Mary MacKillop, we should all take a minute to reflect on this milestone in history. We should all join together to be women of courage and faith, and women at the foot of the cross.
Katrina Slingo Year 8 (an excerpt from Katrina's essay)

As companions of Jesus, how can we live with the same integrity and faithfulness as Marie Madeleine d'Houet and the FCJ's?
...Many don't have the same opportunities that Genazzano girls have. Our education gives us the opportunity to fulfil our dreams. Marie Madeleine put others forward and helped the poor and homeless. She taught them how to read, write, pray and work. We have mission stalls, fundraisers, hampers and more which help the FCJ sisters fulfil Marie Madeleine's mission – to help others... The qualities of Marie Madeleine can be seen in Genazzano girls. I can see Marie Madeleine in my teachers as they help us learn. The FCJ sisters are helping others all over the world to help make the world a better place. They cannot do this by themselves so it is important for the younger generation to get involved as we are the future....
Olivia Camilleri Year 7 (an excerpt from Olivia's essay)

...No-one is perfect, through life you can learn this, and even the kindest people can be stubborn but always remember who they are. Sharing compassion for others and showing love and care is something you can do for the world, and is also profitable for you too. For the demonstration of courage and faith can never always be directly asked, we often hear it in ourselves at the right time, after all we should believe in ourselves and in others. We are lifelong learners.
Alice Collinge Year 6 (an excerpt from Alice's essay)

What events in the life story of Marie Madeleine d'Houet indicate she was a woman of great courage and faith? How could her example as a woman of courage and faith provide a powerful ideal for a young person living in Australia today?
...Even as a young woman of 24 years of age, Marie Madeleine broke what we, in modern society call the 'single-mum' stereotype. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, many young Australian women find themselves in this similar situation. Regrettably, some young single mothers find it a struggle to cope, and may turn to excessive usage of alcohol and drugs to distract them from their misery. This is not the right way to deal with the problem. Although it may seem difficult at the time, we can try to overturn the despair and follow our foundress' example. When overtaken by sorrow and grief, she employed her faith as a rock by which she could pull herself up from the depths of despair. Her living faith is something that young people in Australia should aspire to emulate...
Genevieve Trinh Year 10 (an excerpt from Genevieve's' essay)

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Our little Society has for its end
     to glorify the heart of Jesus
           by  every means in its power ...     (Marie Madeleine)