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New Spirituality Centre named after Saint

BRISBANE archdiocese has announced that its new spirituality centre, opening at Ormiston in 2009, will be known as the Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre.

The centre’s name, plus an agreement on the design of renovations and new facilities construction, was confirmed at a meeting held with Archbishop John Bathersby on May 13.

In naming the site in honour of St Therese of Lisieux (Santa Teresa), the 19th century Carmelite nun who died at the age of 24, Archbishop Bathersby was well pleased that the centre will bear the name of a young woman renowned for her dedicated prayer life.

“Given the Carmelite Sisters live nearby at Ormiston, and the spirituality centre is to be built on land that previously belonged to the Carmelites, it is entirely appropriate the centre should carry a woman’s name and if possible a Carmelite saint,” he said.

“The mark of St Therese’s life was one of simple obedience to God, and at all times, as is so often depicted in artwork representing her, she fulfilled a personal promise to let fall ‘a shower of roses’ on the world.”

With World Youth Day coming to Australia in July, the Archbishop was aware too that St Therese was promoted by Pope John Paul II in 1997 as the youngest doctor of the Church, and the closest to us in time.

The Pope described her as the “doctor of love”, which Archbishop Bathersby said was entirely appropriate for today’s somewhat violent world.

“Therese is a woman who has achieved holiness already in her young age. She can illumine the path of the youth of today, called to bear Gospel witness to the new generations,” he said.

Archbishop Bathersby said the other inspiration behind naming the centre Santa Teresa was related to the famous indigenous Catholic mission located 80km outside Alice Springs.

“This namesake parish is famous because of its faith and the excellent indigenous art produced there, and our connection with this indigenous parish would have resonance due to the fact the first Catholic mission to Queensland was established on Stradbroke Island, which Ormiston overlooks, in 1843,” he said.

Archbishop Bathersby said he had also spoken with Bishop Eugene Hurley of Darwin who believed the central Australian parish would be honoured to have the spirituality centre named after it.

Several of the buildings at the spirituality centre will be renovated, having previously formed part of the Cenacle Retreat Centre run by the Cenacle Sisters from 1980 until 2006.

The sisters sold the retreat centre to the archdiocese in 2006 and returned to live in New Zealand.

It is hoped that building and renovation will begin soon. Architectural plans are well advanced for a new chapel precinct to accommodate 30 people and to extend meeting and teaching space for the spiritual formation of non-residential groups.

For those participating in residential programs, there will be provision for 30 ensuite bedrooms.

When construction is complete (mid 2009) the centre will have the capacity to host weekday, overnight or weekend retreats for up to 30 people at a time.

Jesuit Father Chris Gleeson has been appointed as first director of the spirituality centre. He will oversee a rich and varied program of retreats and spiritual formation experiences aimed at nourishing the faith lives of people within the archdiocese and beyond.
Released by the Catholic Leader

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