Opening of Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre, Ormiston
My sisters and brothers in Christ, distinguished guests,
I welcome you all here today as we gather for the blessing and opening of this Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre. I acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which we gather, and I acknowledge the presence of Aunty Joan Hendriks, Aunty Rose Borey and Ms Belinda Burns from the Quandamooka people of Stradbroke Island. I acknowledge the presence also of Rhonda Ryder and Bryson Sherrin, from central Australia, who travelled to be with us today. They have already sent to us the red soil of Central Australia and an indigenous painting from Santa Teresa Parish after whom our Spirituality Centre is named. I am delighted they are able to be with us. We are indebted also today to the presence of His Excellency Most Rev. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia who so generously agreed to bless and open this Centre today. Excellency we are honoured by your presence. I acknowledge also Bishops Joseph Oudeman, John Gerry, Ray Benjamin here today and Rev. Christopher Gleeson Director of the Centre who has played a significant role in its existence. I acknowledge also the priests, deacons, religious and lay people who have joined us today. I acknowledge also Sister Kathleen Ryan from the Cenacle Sisters of New Zealand who established the Cenacle Retreat Centre from 1984-2006 assisted by Sr Patricia Clouston, Sr Anne Powell and Sr Mary Jackson Kay to whom all of us are indebted. The Sisters of St Paul de Chartres are here also and have generously provided the furnishing for the Chapel, still under construction. Thank you all, together with the religious brothers and sisters who have graced us today.
The story of the Spirituality Centre is interesting. For some time now we realised that because of the closure of Archdiocesan Spirituality Centres in more recent years for different reasons, the Archdiocese desperately needed a Spirituality Centre if it was to shape the formation and faith of its people. Godís hand intervened in different ways. The Carmelite Sisters acquired this land 44 years ago, established their enclosed Convent, and became a powerful source of prayer for the Archdiocese. In the 1980s they sold land to the Cenacle Sisters who established their Centre here and did marvellous work over many years before decreasing membership forced them during the leadership of Sister Mary Kay Jackson to return to New Zealand. Before they departed in 2006 they then generously sold this centre to the Archdiocese. Our dream then of a Spirituality Centre, ever so slowly became a reality. The close proximity of the Carmelite Sisters made the name Santa Teresa extremely suitable for the Centre and of great importance for our all too secular world, particularly because her relics visited this area in 2002. As well, the Santa Teresa Parish near Alice Springs with its close connection to the Indigenous people of Central Australia seemed to fit well with the Passionist mission to the indigenous people of Stradbroke Island in 1843, some of whose relatives are present today. Finally Father Chris Gleeson stepped up to become the director of this Centre that has already deepened the Archdioceseís Christian faith for the greater glory of God. Archdiocesan people especially Fr Peter Meneely, Des Zagami, Geoff Gowdie and numerous others helped to bring this project to completion. Its magnificent location cannot but lift our minds and hearts to God, and its linkage to the indigenous people of Australia and the Carmelites cannot but remind us how long Godís Holy Spirit has hovered over this magnificent great south land whose antiquity and people amazed Pope John Paul II. Please God this marvellous part of Godís creation will in the future, with the help of Godís Holy Spirit change the minds and hearts of all people who come here to find or deepen their faith. May Santa Teresa, a saint for our time, inspire the Archdiocese by her faith and simplicity and make this Spirituality Centre a powerhouse of Godís grace into the future.
It is now my great honour to ask His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto to declare this marvellous new Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre officially open.
Archbishop John Bathersby
October 4, 2009
Release by the Catholic Communications Office