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When the Sisters of Mercy established St Aloysius College in 1880 they recognised the importance of providing an education for young women that would enable them to take on leadership roles in society.

The pioneer sisters firmly established St Aloysius College on the theological values of Mercy enunciated by Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

Catherine McAuley’s understanding of mercy was essentially a life-giving force and in this she was guided by those powerful words of Jesus:

“I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”

Catherine’s gratitude for God’s mercy was the foundation of her enduring hospitality. We seek to create a spirit of hospitality which respects, and rejoices in, the uniqueness of each member of the community.

At St Aloysius College the Spirit of Mercy lives on... a spirit of loving kindness, an awareness of the worth and needs of others and a willingness to serve.

Reflecting on our past

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy had its formal beginnings in Ireland on December 12, 1831. Catherine McAuley, in response to the needs of the time, established an institution particularly for the care and education of less advantaged girls and young women.

St Aloysius College is a Catholic college for girls. It is a school within the Catholic culture and shaped by the tradition of Mercy. As a Mercy school, St Aloysius College embraces the challenge to empower young women to play a vital part in the world of the future. The Mercy Mission demands a particular commitment to the life of Jesus Christ with a call to proclaim, to liberate and to heal.

Our Vision Statement calls us to find new and creative ways in which to meet the challenge to be Mercy in today’s complex society.

Since that first foundation, the Congregation has continued to act in response to contemporary needs in society. As part of this heritage, St Aloysius College was set up in Adelaide to educate women to realise their potential and to contribute more fully to the wider community.

St Aloysius College today is continuing to maintain its link with the past and re-interpreting its vision for the future in response to new needs.

As testimony to our Mercy philosophy is the calibre of the young women who graduate from the College:

  • young women of strength and integrity
  • young women with a strong sense of social justice
  • young women who possess the gentle, compassionate humanity which is Mercy.


St Aloysius College is a specialised form of local Church in which Christian formation takes place. In the day to day ministries of the school there is an emphasis on the love of God and future unity for all creation.

Our motto

by Irene Heenan (a student of SAC in 1912)

“Proud, indeed, are we of our motto ‘Loyal en Tout’, and well do we realise that in striving to live up to its inspirations, we are daily cultivating a quality that will influence for good the whole of our future lives.

Since the very word loyalty seems to stimulate us to higher aims and nobler actions, great is the power of that little motto which urges us to be ‘loyal in everything’. Now, all times to live up to the teaching of our holy religion and avoiding all that the interests of our school at heart on every occasion, ever remembering that it is the duty of each girl to avoid anything in her conduct that might bring discredit on her school, and to do all in her power to promote its welfare.

There are many ways of fulfilling this obligation: in our attention to our studies, in the good example we show to younger children, and even in the playground, when we strive to stimulate our companions to excel in those games which bring honourable victory to our school. Now lastly, would our friendships be genuine or lasting, and would any of them bring real pleasure into our lives?

No. Without loyalty, true friendship could never exist, and school life would lose much of its charm. May we then imbibe the spirit of our motto, may we at all times uphold the honour of the school, and ever ‘keep ourselves loyal to truth and the sacred professions of friendships”.

The Fleur de Lis

The Fleur de Lis, which appears in the centre of the SAC emblem, is a variety of lily which is often used as the emblem of royalty. In particular, it was chosen by St Louis, King of France, as a symbol of dedication, consistency of purpose and strength of friendship.

The buckle on the emblem, which surrounds the Fleur de Lis, is a symbol of the strength of the bond that exists within our SAC community.

The words ‘Loyal en Tout’ incorporated in the emblem may be translated as ‘Loyal in All’. These works refer to the loyalty which each student, as a Christian, should have to God, to others, to the school and to themselves.

St Aloysius Gonzaga

Born on 9 March 1568, Aloysius Gonzaga was the son and heir to the Duke of Castiglione in Lombardy and Marta Tana, companion to Isabel of Valois.

The Gonzagas’ had produced many more tyrants than saints and they were noted for the excessive taxation they imposed on their subjects as well as their ‘insane debaucheries’. In their favour and paradoxically, they cared about agriculture and irrigation as well as possessing a genuine faith. The clan survived one assassination attempt after another and became extremely powerful and wealthy. Aloysius must have appeared as the reverse of a ‘black sheep’. By the time he was seventeen he was committed to a life of prayer and penance and in 1585 waived his right of succession in favour of his brother and joined the Society of Jesus.

When the plague broke out in Rome he worked among the sick of the city, finally contracting the disease himself to die on 21 June 1591. Despite his youth, Aloysius displayed enormous talent and wisdom and was often involved as a mediator in the constant violent quarrels involving his family. His two brothers were murdered by desperate courtiers, even his mother was stabbed and left for dead but Aloysius miraculously cured her. Aloysius was considered to be ‘clear-headed, inflexible, unbribable, utterly unself-seeking’ all this as a young man of twenty-one. He must have been quite a surprise to the family.

It was hoped that as a highly talented prince as well as a young man deeply committed to God in his life and prayer, Aloysius would bring wisdom and leadership to the restless period in which he lived. But for God, Aloysius had completed his destiny when human beings believed it was just the beginning. His character was such that he could withstand the enormous and varied and day-by-day response to grace together made him an excellent model for all young people who must face the struggles of life. For this reason St Aloysius College has him for its special patron and honours him especially on 21 June.

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