As Mercy women, we share a common bond that has shaped us all in a multitude of ways.
2019 was a very special year for Villa Maria College, as it marked 100 years since the first pupils walked through the school gates. After our Centennial year, we continue to celebrate of all Villa’s Mercy women.
Become a member and make sure you don’t miss out on all the latest news.
The Past Pupils’ Association is proud to launch its Mercy Grant. The Grant is worth $2,000 and will be awarded to one past Villa girl each year who is undertaking extraordinary work or study that aligns with Villa’s Mercy values.
In 2018, the recipient of the PPA Mercy Grant was Nicole Smit.
The PPA received a number of impressive applications for the Grant, and it’s wonderful to see so many of our past pupils undertaking life-changing work in the community – both in NZ and overseas.
Nicole attended Villa from 2005 to 2009, and was appointed Service Captain in her final year, a role she relished.
“When I finished Villa, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The opportunity arose to volunteer alongside Sister Anna Nicholls in Samoa – I jumped at the chance and went to Samoa for a couple of months. Upon my return I still had itchy feet and ended up returning to the Island later in the same year for an anticipated six week stay. This trip was cut short when my Dad had a heart attack back in New Zealand, and I was on the first plane home. Many hours spent in the hospital and a triple bypass later, my passion for nursing was uncovered and the rest is history!”
Nicole soon discovered she had an underlying passion to help those less fortunate. In her application letter for nursing, she wrote, “Once I have completed my Bachelor of Nursing, I would love to work overseas in places of poverty – to help improve their knowledge of safe medical practices and therefore improve their healthcare systems”.
After a few years of nursing in New Zealand, Nicole fulfilled a dream to spend three months working in Uganda in 2017.
“This experience has changed me for the better and I had the time of my life. I saw things I never thought I would see (both good and bad) and met some amazing people along the way. I used to think it was just a cliché saying, but I have definitely left a piece of my heart in Uganda,” said Nicole.
“I worked alongside local doctors and nurses in a medical clinic and did a variety of things such as wound dressings, malaria testing/treatment, HIV testing/treatment, general consultations (language barrier was fun!) and also assisted to deliver 10 babies!”
As well as this clinic work, Nicole visited children living in the slums of Kampala alongside a local charity. They fed the children and provided wound care for them. This also included using fund-raised money the group had taken with them to assist the children to visit a medical clinic if they required antibiotics for infections or any IV medications for things such as malaria or typhoid.
“Seeing this real poverty up close was the hardest part of my experience, but also the most rewarding as I could see first-hand how much of a difference we were able to make and how grateful the children were for our help.”
Nicole has continued to work with this charity, which has already set up three orphanages, and the next goal is to build and stock a much-needed medical centre. Nicole plans to use the Grant funds from the PPA for medical equipment for this centre, to help improve the health of the children, as well as those in the surrounding villages.
We are very proud of the selfless work Nicole undertakes for the people of Uganda, and wish her all the best in her next mission to the country.
Applications for the 2019 Mercy Grant have now closed. Please apply for the 2020 Grant.
Please send any questions and/or applications to: Sonya: email@example.com
Members of the Past Pupils’Association will…
Annual Subscriptions are $50
Life-time Subscriptions are $200
Please make sure you complete the Membership Form – button above – before you pay.
Contact the Villa Office on 03 348 4165
We’d love to stay in contact with as many Villa past pupils as possible! If you are not sure if the College has your current address, please click here and fill in the Past Pupil form.
You may wish to become a Past Pupils’ Association member to ensure you keep receiving our Vmail magazine and are kept well informed about PPA events and reunions.
Lifetime Membership $200
Annual membership $50
Email Sonya at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about joining the PPA.
President – Kirsten Win
Treasurer – Kelly Snell
Secretary – Sonya Fitzgerald
Address for Correspondence
Past Pupils’ Association
Villa Maria College
21 Peer Street