Statue an enduring symbol of faith, hope and inspiration

By Wendy Shaw

A statue of Jesus at a well sits in a quiet corner of Mount Carmel College in Sandy Bay, overlooking the playground and the serene Derwent River beyond.

Students spend time with Jesus, eating lunch, playing, speaking or praying with Him.

The gospel story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan ‘Woman at the Well’ is the inspiration for the statue.

The driving force behind the installation was the College’s beloved former Director of Mission in the Primary sector, Ida Saracino. Ida taught at Mount Carmel for 37 years. She died from cancer aged 57 in 2019, before the installation was completed.

The statue is a place to gather, reflect and be still. Photo: Angelea Galloway.

Friend and colleague Melanie Sluyters, Mount Carmel’s Director of Primary, explained that staff and students have an immense sense of pride in the ‘Woman at the Well’ statue.

“This amazing piece is a connection to our faith, being a symbol of hope and inspiration to all; a tangible representation of our beliefs,” Ms Sluyters said. 

“It is a place of safety, friendship and a reminder that Jesus is with us. It is a place that sees on many occasions our primary and secondary students sitting and having lunch together and even our early years students clambering all over it.

Mount Carmel College students run to spend time with Jesus. Photo: Angelea Galloway.

“Since its erection, the ‘Woman at the Well’ statue has promoted many conversations amongst teachers and students. This is a place for us to gather, reflect, and be still.”

A plaque at the foot of the statue reads: ‘The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4: 4-260) Inspired by the vision of Ida Saracino.’

‘The Woman at the Well’ underlines Jesus’ love and care for the marginalised, and this resonated with Ida. She was a gifted educator who focused on bringing Jesus and the Scriptures alive in a range of innovative ways.

Mount Carmel College’s beloved former Director of Mission, Ida Saracino, who taught at the College for 37 years. Photo: Supplied.

Among her many talents, Ida’s ability to set up and create the most amazing prayer spaces was second to none, Ms Sluyters added.

“Still today, as Director of Primary, I find myself talking to her and asking for her help when trying to make a prayer space creative yet engaging, or seeking advice when the cloth just is not sitting right!

“As the years go by … our beautiful statue is a reminder of all the magnificent work she did at the College, not just as a RE coordinator, but as a primary teacher, work colleague and friend. 

“For those who did not know her, this statue sits as a reminder of those who have gone before, what the future will bring for us as a school, and also the love of Jesus for us.” 

Ida’s parents, Maria and Mauro Saracino, of Hobart, have seen the statue many times and are confident their daughter would be happy with the installation. It aims to bring Jesus to life, particularly for very young students.

Maria and Mauro Saracino with the statue at Mount Carmel College. Photo: Angelea Galloway.
Maria and Mauro Saracino with the statue at Mount Carmel College. Photo: Angelea Galloway.

“Ida was passionate and dedicated, and devoted her life to teaching,” Mrs Saracino said.

“In 2018 she was diagnosed with cancer. In the meantime, she had a vision to put something in the grounds of Mount Carmel. She was in the primary sector and started with very young children.

“Sometimes, when they can’t see something they do not realise what Jesus is about. So Ida wanted a physical representation of Jesus in the playground so the children would realise God was there and they can talk to Him.

“Since it was completed, the school has sent me photos of children running to have lunch with Jesus. That is what Ida wanted.

“She was a very courageous, humble, beautiful woman – beautiful inside.

“She would love the statue. I know she can look down and is really pleased.”

Tags: Archdiocese, News, Sandy Bay