Bel Ritchie has worked with CSBB for a year as the Senior Workstream Lead, Governance, Legal and Risk. She has a passion for serving in faith-based school education through strengthening the safety, risk management and compliance culture. In particular, Bel is grateful for the opportunity to work with a wonderful team alongside such dedicated and mission-driven leaders.
What does faith mean to you?
Trusting in Jesus for my salvation is the most important thing in my life. Knowing his love and forgiveness and being able to pray to our good God is a daily comfort and joy.
Have you had a pivotal faith experience in your journey?
I was raised in the church and attended a faith-based school. Both of these things gave me a foundation of faith which I called upon later. When I was at university, I reached a low point in my life. One day a friend asked me how I was going and in the course of conversation I heard myself tell her that I needed to follow Jesus. I thought – that sounds right! And I have ever since.
How has being a part of a Catholic community influenced your identity?
It has been absolutely joyous to be part of the Catholic community of CSBB. Having the opportunity to pray and read the scriptures together, attend mass and encounter Catholic thought and writings has been an encouragement to my faith. I am delighted by the further potential for unity I observe among our brothers and sisters in different parts of the church as we face challenging times together.
What is something that you learnt in your faith journey?
Something I hope I’m learning is to be aware of how much load other people are carrying. I know that when I understand someone’s story I have more room for compassion, patience and tolerance. My prayer is that I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt on that, even if I don’t know what they’re bearing. Even when they cut me off on Pennant Hills Rd!!
How has working in Catholic Schools Broken Bay impacted your faith story?
I am so grateful for the disciplines of faith embedded in our work week. Stopping to pray on a weekly and daily basis shows that we rely on God for strength and effectiveness, not just our own efforts. I also have the privilege of working with and for leaders who are absolutely consistent in their care for individuals. The congruence between stated and lived values at CSBB is something we should thank God for every day.
How do you share your faith?
Everyone who knows me will know I’m a keen talker! But I value hearing from others and try to remember to be curious and hear people well too. This can give good opportunities for empathy, sharing the good news of Jesus, praying and caring practically.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas is an opportunity to remember the first and best Christmas present. I love the traditions, decorations and songs. I love being with family and going to church. I really don’t love the shops!!
How will you celebrate Christmas this year with your family?
We are visiting with family in Newcastle. We’ll get some time away to spend with them which will be lovely (we are very blessed because they are pretty lovable)! I love seeing the cousins together – mine are the ‘big’ cousins (age 12-16yrs) and they are lovely with the little cousins (preschoolers).