2020 Retreat Program

* Indicates Prayer Weekend available
Download 2020 Brochure

30 Day Retreat

29 Dec 2019
to 31 Jan 2020
30 day retreats offer the choice of:
• Praying with Jesus
• Lifes’s Healing Journey
• Directed Retreat

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31 – 8Praying with Jesus
Retreat Team
10 - 19Life's Healing Journey
Retreat Team
21 - 29Directed Retreat
Retreat Team



6 - 12 The Gift of Ageing
Sr Kerin Caldwell sgs
13 - 15 Mindfulness and the Presence of God Prayer Weekend

20 - 26

27 - 29

Paul's Letter to the Galatians
Michael Fallon msc
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Men's Prayer Weekend
Dominic Gleeson msc


3 - 5 Palm Sunday Prayer Weekend
Retreat Team
3 - 12 Easter Guided Retreat
9 - 12Easter Triduum
17-25Matthew’s Gospel
Michael Fallon msc
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1 - 7 Meeting God in Silence and
Solitude* Michelle Vass
8 - 14Song of Songs - Living the Song

22 - 25 Extended Weekend Retreat
Paul White
27 - 4 Meditation and Contemplation with St John of the Cross


22 - 25
Carer's Retreat: Com to me all you who are weary and overburdened - Mt 11:28
26 - 28 Living in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer weekend


10 - 18Praying the Psalms with Jesus
Michael Fallon msc
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24 - 26My Beloved is Mine –
Women’s Prayer Weekend
Pauline Compton

30 Day Retreat

1 Aug 2020
to 3 Sept 2020
30 day retreats offer the choice of:
• Life’s Journey Experience
• The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius
• Praying with the Mystics

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3 - 11Peaceful Living -Let the
Peace of Christ Rule in your
Hearts: Col 3:15
Retreat Team
13 - 22Life’s Healing Journey
Retreat Team
24 - 1Directed Retreat
Retreat Team


4 - 6Contemplation for the
Professional Person
*Prayer Weekend
Lou Nulley
23 - 1Gracious Living: 1 Thess
5:16-18 Michelle Vass


2 - 10Praying with Julian of
Pauline Compton fdnsc
Michelle Vass
16 - 22Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
Michael Fallon msc
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23 - 25 Jn 15:1-9 “Live in Me”*
Prayer Weekend
Pauline Compton fdnsc


26 - 3Spirituality of the Arts
Michelle Vass
9 - 17Spirituality of the Arts
Michelle Vass
20 - 26Trinity: Heart of our
Colleen Rhodes rsm


27 - 3Advent Retreat:
Waiting with Mary
Retreat Team
4 - 12Directed Retreat
Retreat Team

30 Day Retreat

29 Dec 2020
to 31 Jan 2021
30 day retreats offer the choice of:
• Praying with Jesus
• Lifes’s Healing Journey
• Directed Retreat

Download Brochure

Heart Spirituality


Michael Fallon msc

Scripture, Commentaries, Homilies and Articles

Michael Fallon is well known for his insights into scripture. His website offers access to his numerous commentaries as well as homilies, retreat material, articles, books, CD’s and other material.  Michael’s involvement in Adult Faith Education has enriched the journey of many thirsting for God.

He is presently one of the full time directors of the Retreat Team at St. Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre, Douglas Park.



Heart of Life Spirituality Centre

Heart of Life Spirituality Centre
96 Albion Road, Box Hill
Victoria 3128 AUSTRALIA
Telephone:  (+61 3) 9890 1101

Heart of Life Spirituality Centre, Box Hill, Victoria

Heart of Life Spirituality Centre began in 1983 as an initiative of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

Heart of Life Spirituality Centre is an oasis for the human spirit thirsting for God. Our Centre offers spiritual direction, spirituality seminars and the formation and supervision of spiritual directors and other pastoral ministers.

Ours is a way of the heart by which we are drawn into and bonded with other human hearts, the heart of humanity and, indeed, the sacred mystery at the heart of all reality.

Our way of the heart rests on the contemplative attitude and authentic discernment integral to all our ministries. This way of the heart is fundamental to the rich tradition of Christian spirituality of which we are part.


Peter Malone msc

Fr. Peter Malone msc

Faith and Film  – Film and Values

Peter has been involved in Adult Faith Education for many years with a gift for integrating diverse fields of human endeavour, including cinema and social communications, and contemporary understandings of the human person and the faith journey.

His reviews appeared in the Australian Annals for many

years and  now can be found on the SIGNIS English website (SIGNIS is the World Catholic Association for Communication) of which Peter was the world president. 

His reviews are also on the website of the Australian Catholic Bishops.

His own site contains access to numerous valuable resources including film reviews and discussion material on many individual films.


Chevalier Institute

Chevalier Institute is a ministry of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in the Australian Province . It is a centre for formation, committed to sharing and promoting the Chevalier Family’s Spirituality of the Heart.  Chevalier Institute was established in 2003. 

Jules Chevalier founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in 1854 and the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH) in 1874. In 1900 The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred heart was founded in Germany by Father Hubert Linckens, a Dutch Missionary of the Sacred Heart. All these congregations of professed religious, along with the Lay MSC, Lay OLSH and other laity committed to the spirituality of the heart are members of the Chevalier family.

Our offices are based in the Chevalier Resource Centre at 
1 Roma Ave, Kensington NSW 2033


The Cliffs – Shoreham

The Cliffs, Shoreham

The Cliffs at Shoreham, Westernport Bay, Victoria, is available for  individually directed retreats. Brian Gallagher MSC is available for spiritual direction and retreats by individual arrangement.

The large comfortable house and the two independent self-contained cottages all have spectacular sea views. The atmosphere is quiet, relaxed, and prayerful.

The Cliffs is inspired by the MSC way of the heart : the vision is inclusive, contemplative, and missionary, respecting all people and all creation.

For more information and bookings, 
Telephone: 03 59898777



Music of Frank Andersen msc

Eagle’s Wings

Strong & Constant
Come to the Water
I Thank my God
The Fullness of God
In God Alone
Trinity Song
Eucharist Song
Eagle’s Wings
Deep in the Spirit
Living Water
Be Still, My Friends
Morning Praise
 My Soul is Joyful
 Zephaniah’s Song
Hymn to Christ Renewal Song
The Wonders He Has Done This Blessing Cup

The Galilee Song

The Galilee Song Acceptable Time
His State Was Divine Hand of the Lord
Everything I Possess Truly Yahweh
My Help Shall Come My People
Springs of Salvation Psalm 131
Prayer from Colossians Blessings on the King
Something That We Have Seen It Is Good To Give Thanks

Kindly Light

Lead, Kindly Light!
Into Paradise
The Morning Canticle
The Cross of Christ
Faithful Cross
Rivers of Babylon
Flame of Glory
Welcome Home!
The Blood of Christ
Song of Simeon
Bound in Truth
The Christ Light
Let us Glory in the Cross
Like Burning Incense
The Exultet
(Star of Morning Fire)
The Evening Canticle

Rising Moon

Three-CD Collection of sixty-six scriptural antiphons
from the Liturgy of the Word for the Sundays of Year B.
An ideal resource for private or shared prayer.





Scripture in Song

Full Accompaniment folio edition, including instrumental parts and harmonies (240 pp) for the collections:
• Eagle’s Wings
• Galilee Song
• Rising Moon
As well, this edition contains helpful suggestions for use of each song in worship settings.

Scripture in Song

Melody handbook for singers and guitarists.
• Eagle’s Wings
• Galilee Song
• Rising Moon

Books by Frank Andersen msc

The following titles provide excellent follow-up opportunities for individuals or Parish groups who may wish to pray and work together through deeper aspects of issues.

Eucharist : Participating in the Mystery

Ideal resource book for a deeper understanding of the Eucharistic ritual.
What did the Last Supper mean for Jesus himself?
When Jesus and the disciples gathered for a religious ritual, what did they imagine it was about?
What is the Acclamation after the Consecration so important?
How do the Gospel stories of the Feeding of the Five Thousand help us understand the origins of our Eucharistic ritual?
Available in quantity at special prices for group study and reflection.

Jesus : Our Story

Popular resource book for deepening our sense of Jesus’ life, his culture and personal challenge.
What were the social situations surrounding the stories of Jesus in the Gospels that make them ‘come alive’ for us today?
What was Jesus’ vision for his people?
A training resource for developing your own Imaginative Gospel Prayer.
Discount price for multiple copies.

To order Frank Andersen’s music and books use the MSC Music contact page click here.


Music of James Maher msc





For the full range of James Maher’s music click here.



Other Heart Spirituality Books

Communal Wisdom

Book co-authored by Brian Gallagher msc
and Sue Richardson pbvm

A practical guide for group discernment.


Pray as You Are

by Brian Gallagher msc

A guide for coming to God as you can,
and allowing yourself to be with God as you are.

Available from:
Heart of Life Spirituality Centre
96 Albion Road, Box Hill
Victoria 3128 AUSTRALIA
Telephone:  (+61 3) 9890 1101


Chevalier Resource Centre

Sacred Heart Monastery, Kensington, NSW

1 Roma Ave, Kensington NSW 2033Telephone: (02) 9315 2222
Facsimile: (02) 9662 6549

The Chevalier Resource Centre has proved to be a very popular venue for conferences and retreats. Situated ten minutes from Mascot airport, and ten minutes from the city centre, it has a location that offers few problems as far as travel is concerned. The Centre is a five level building with kitchen, lounge room and laundry on the basement level, with offices, meeting rooms and lounge room on ground floor level, and with bed-rooms and bathroom facilities on each of the other three levels. The exquisite views from the rooms facing south overlooking Botany Bay, and the Royal National Park are some of the best in Sydney. The peaceful monastic setting in the beautifully kept grounds is an ideal place for prayer, study, reflection or recuperation. More active visitors may prefer to use the tennis court available, or even take a 10 minute walk to Centennial Park which is one of the feature parks of Sydney.

There is a Conference Hall as part of the Centre. It can seat 200 people, or the large carpeted area can be cleared of all seats to allow other activities to take place in the hall. Parking is available on the grounds.

Groups staying overnight may share in the meals served in the Sacred Heart Monastery dining room. A continental breakfast, a two course dinner and a light supper in the evening are available at set times.


Hartzer Park Retreat & Conference Centre

Conducted by  the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Eridge Park Road, Burradoo NSW Southern Highlands
Postal Address: PO Box 116, Bowral NSW 2576
Telephone: (02) 4861 3223
Facsimile: (02) 4862 1872


Pond and Gardens at Hartzer Park, Bowral, NSW

Hartzer Park is an adult education centre for spiritual and human development. Set in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW with spacious grounds, beautiful gardens and a spirit of tranquillity, it is an ideal place for spiritual and personal renewal for individuals and groups. In addition to the programs offered, spiritual direction and private retreats are available at any time for those who seek them. It conducts a year-round programme of retreats, weekend workshops and courses. A range of programs are offered: directed retreats, guided and preached retreats, Yoga and holistic retreats, guided reflection days and “shoe-string” retreats. Individual and private retreatants are welcome – spiritual direction is available by arrangement. Hartzer is available to all church groups.

Sunday Mass Centre & Community…


Interior of Church at St. Mary’s Towers

St. Mary’s Towers, Douglas Park is a Mass Centre of the Parish of St. Anthony’s, Picton – Tahmoor, in the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong.  Founded in 1847.

The main Parish Church is in Tahmoor, located south-west of Sydney in the Wollondilly Region. St Anthony’s Parish also incorporates St Patrick’s Church at Menangle and the Sheil Memorial Church at Picton. The areas covered by St Anthony’s Parish include Bargo, Balmoral, Buxton, Couridjah, Douglas Park, Lakesland, Menangle, Picton, Pheasants Nest, Tahmoor, Thirlmere, Wilton and Yanderra.

The original Douglas Park Village Church in Station Street opposite the rail line, began its existence as the town’s community hall. Built in 1937, it was consecrated as a church two years later. By 1971 the parish priest, Father Scanlon, was under increasing pressure providing pastoral care for such a large parish, so the clergy of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart from the local St Mary’s Towers community provided for the spiritual needs of the Catholics of Douglas Park and Wilton. In 1977 Bishop William Murray merged the churches of Appin, Wilton, Douglas Park and Menangle into one parish and asked the M.S.C. to administer these communities. In 1987 this decision was reversed and the Douglas Park Mass Centre returned to St. Anthony’s Picton-Tahmoor.

The M.S.C. still assist the parish clergy by providing for the needs of local Catholics.

For Mass Times and Sacramental enquiries contact:
St. Mary’s Towers
Phone: 02 4630 9232





Entrance to St. Mary’s Towers Church (2008)

Walking Tracks

As the property is privately owned only persons on retreat are able to use the property for bush walking.

Information regarding walking tracks for retreatants will be available on request during retreat.

Down Town Douglass Park

The Rail Station

St. Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre is located within a few minutes drive of Douglas Park Train Station. The Station is unattneded by CityRail and CountryLink Staff and tickets will need to be purchased elsewhere, either ahead of the journey, or once the train arrives at its destination.

The Station is on the main southern line linking Sydney and Melbourne and carries frieght services as well as interstate passenger trains.  On the CityRail network the Station is on the Southern Highlands Line and not being electrified, diesal trains transport passengers between Goulburn, Mossvale and Campbelltown.  At Campbelltown passengers may need to alight and tranfer to an electric train for Metropolitan Stations, although some diesal services do run express to Central Station (see CityRail timetables).

The station is conveniently located on the same line as Sydney Airport.  Flight arrivals will easily pick up a train service from the Airport Stations located beneath both International (T1) and Domestic (T2 – Virgin & T3 – Qantas) Terminals. If travelling out to Douglas Park travellers from the Airport should board trains on the Airport-East Hills Line or Southern Highlands Line heading to Campbelltown. Note that at Campbelltown you will need to change to Platform 4 for the non-electric train service.

For more information and maps to assist with travelling by vehicle, or for links to train timetables and maps, go to How to get here… 

The History

Originally called Hoare Town, Douglas Park was one of two vast land grants approved south of Camden Park.  Dr Henry Grattam Douglass, a close friend of Governor Brisbane, owned the Hoare Town land grant. The other grant, owned by Jean Baptiste de Arrietta, was known as Spaniard’s Hill which, in 1860, had a sizeable Catholic community and included one of the first rural Catholic schools.

Dr. Douglass was born in 1790 in Dublin, Ireland to Adam Douglass and Ann Edwards.  He arrived in the colony of NSW, as a free settler aboard the convict ship ‘Speke’, on 18 May 1821 in Sydney NSW.  He died 1 December1865 in Douglas Park NSW and was buried at St. John’s Church Cemetery Camden NSW.  He served as Assistant Surgeon with the 18th Regiment British Army 1809/10 in the Peninsular War and 1811 in the West Indies.  Douglass married Hester Murphy in 1812 in Dublin, Ireland, and had three children; Rev. Arthur Douglass (abt 1814 – 1878), Emily Eliza Douglass (abt 1816 – 1887), and Mary Douglass ( – 9 Jun 1868).  He worked tirelessly for the poor and ex-convicts, was the doctor in charge of the Parramatta Female Factory (the industrial prison housing female convicts), and was instrumental in helping establish Sydney University.  He became a member of the Agricultural Society, a vice-president of the Benevolent Society and first secretary of the Philosophical Society, the first local organization to foster Australian science.  He was in his time an eminent man, serving as clerk of the Legislative Council and later as an elected member, but he also gained powerful foes such as Samuel Marsden and the Macarthurs, who subjected him to years of slander and legal assaults, even rape allegations. But the Doctor’s philanthropic efforts won many admirers. Douglass had numbers of convicts working on his farm, as muster rolls in the State Records of NSW show. This farm may have however, belonged to, or been managed by Douglass’ son Arthur.

The name Hoare Town may possibly find it origins in a Mr. John Hoare who on July 30th, 1811 was listed to receive lands in the new Districts of Airds or Appin (Minto, Campbelltown, Appin).  John Hoare, originally of Wexford, Ireland, was sentenced to death for Mutiny in a trial at Portsmouth on 8th September 1798. He arrived in Australia as a convict at Sydney on the “Canada” on 14th December 1801. He was also imprisoned on Norfolk Island between 1802 & 1804. He obtained his “Ticket of Leave” on 15th July 1811. By 1828, John, his wife Elizabeth and family were living at Airds.  A local tale says the after Douglass arrived in 1821 and received his land grant the name “Hoare Town” stirred up the female residents who lobbied to chaneg it, so Douglass in time gave his name to the town, the final “s” being lost due to a cartographer’s error.

Douglas Park Drive under the rock ledge the trek from the Railway Station

The railway reached Douglas Park in 1863 as a station on the extension of the Main South Line from Campbelltown to Picton.

Blades Bridge over Harris Creek

In 1889, writer Ethel Turner, at the age of 17, visited the area: 
6th April: Went to Newington Sports. Took cab to the grounds. The Sports were very poor. I walked with Mr Curlewis a little and after with Mr Curnow. We left Annie, then Lil and I hurried off and caught the 5 o’clock train to Picton to stay with the Daintreys.
10th April: Mr Daintrey took us all in a buggy to Douglas Park for a picnic. It was a fearfully long drive but very pleasant there, we went mushroom hunting. Afternoon we went to the Show. It is the first country show I have been to. We had tea on the grounds with the Abbotsford Antills and a lot more people.

The Grevilles Post Office Directory has an interesting list of residents at Douglas Park in 1872;

ACKROYD John carpenter East Bargo Douglas Park
BADHAM John D. squatter East Bargo Douglas Park
BASCLEN Josepath labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
BEST James farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
BEST John farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
BESTON John teacher Spaniard’s Hill Douglas Park
BLADES John labourer — Douglas Park
BLADES Thomas labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
BLADES Thomas stockman — Douglas Park
BURNE William labourer Clifton Douglas Park
BUTLER Thomas labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
CARROLL James farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
CARROLL John labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
CLEARY Thomas farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
CLEMENTS Thomas farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
CONLIN John farmer Spaniard’s Hill Douglas Park
CUMMINS John farmer — Douglas Park
DEMPSEY Thomas labourer — Douglas Park
EAGAN John gardener Morton Park Douglas Park
FAHY Thomas farmer Nepean Towers Douglas Park
GREEN Charles labourer Nepean Towers Douglas Park
HENNESSY David farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
JENKINS Richard L. squatter Nepean Towers Douglas Park
KENNIFF Patrick teacher East Bargo Douglas Park
KENNY Michael farmer Condell Park Douglas Park
MEREDITH George fencer East Bargo Douglas Park
MULHOLLAND William farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
MCGRATH John labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
MCINNES Donald farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
MCINNES Malcolm farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
MCLEAN John farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
OXENBRIDGE Edward farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
OXENBRIDGE Henry farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
PEEL Richard farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
RICE James labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
ROCHFORD James farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
ROSE James A. labourer — Douglas Park
SHEIL Francis farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
SHEIL James farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
SHEIL Thomas farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
SMITH George labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
SPEARING Benjamin farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
STARR George labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
STARR Stephen fencer Morton Park Douglas Park
STARR William farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
TURNER Allington labourer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
WONSON Joseph farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
WONSON James farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
WONSON William farmer Broughton Park Douglas Park
WONSON William jun. teacher East Bargo Douglas Park

The Township

Douglas Park is a town of the Macarthur Region in New South Wales, in Wollondilly Shire. It is near the Hume Highway and on the Main Southern railway line. Its station is served by CityRail’s Southern Highlands services. It is about 80 km southwest of Sydney. Locals refer to the area as Douggo or DP. At the 2006 census, Douglas Park had a population of 827 people.

The village of Douglas Park is a fine example of what living in Wollondilly is all about: So close to the city yet far enough away to retain a rural atmosphere.  Many residents of Douglas Park enjoy large acreage which support hobby farms and a semi-rural lifestyle.  Douglas Park has a General Store which includes a Post Office. Adjacent is a service station. There is no Police Station: Douglas Park is part of the Camden Local Area Command.

Douglas Park Sports Ground is home to The Douglas Park-Wilton Razorbacks Soccer Football Club in the winter and in the summer season Douglas Park Little Athletics Club, and soon-to-be Douglas Park Cricket Club. There are two tennis courts at the sports ground.

The Spaniard’s Hill Catholic community had a Parish School in 1860. Douglas Park Public School opened in 1883, its motto reads; Look to the Future.  Buses and trains now carry the town’s secondary students to High Schools in the Wollondilly Shire and beyond. A Long Day Care service is available, a playgroup, and a rural mobile pre-school.

The Progress Hall, built by the Douglas Park Progress Association is located on the north-western corner of the sportsground.

Nepean River Causeway, Douglas Park Drive; fish-ladder on bottom left.

Douglas Park Rural Fire Service Shed is also located at the sportsground.

Douglas Park is surrounded by low hills, pasture, and bush land. To the south of the town, the Nepean River runs through a rocky gorge. The rugged beauty of the district is a feature of the drive between Douglas Park and Appin.

The drive will take you over the Nepean River causeway, a popular local swimming and canoeing spot.

At the causeway you will get an excellent view of the Douglas Park twin bridges carrying northbound and southbound lanes of the F5 Freeway over the Nepean River.

This bridge was opened in 1980, as part of the extension of the Hume Highway from Campbelltown to Yanderra.  Downstream from this spot was once a suspension road bridge, of a similar design to the Maldon Suspension Bridge, upstream on the Nepean River.

You’ll also see an innovative ‘fish ladder’ (vertical slot fish-way) to enable fish stocks in the river to migrate upstream against the flow, to reach breeding grounds.

The Church

The Douglas Park Catholic Church began its existence as the town’s community hall. Built in 1937, it was consecrated as a church two years later. By 1971 the parish priest, Father Scanlon, came under increasing demand to provide pastoral care for such a large parish. As a result, the clergy from the local St Mary’s Towers provided assistance to the Catholic townspeople in their spiritual needs.

Consequently, in 1977, the then Bishop William Murray merged the churches of Appin, Wilton, Douglas Park and Menangle into one parish and asked the St Mary’s clergy to administer to these communities.

In 1987 this decision was reversed. Douglas Park now exists within the Parish of St Anthony of Padua.

For more information click here.

(photo) Church Of The Sacred Heart – Douglas Park



M.S.C. Cemetery – St. Mary’s Towers

1907 to present

In the MSC cemetery behind the Retreat Centre, members of the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Australian Province and others are buried. This cemetery is the last resting place for most of the members of the province, just over two hundred, but those buried elsewhere are also remembered here. Many members come to pay their last respects, and visitors remember old friendships as they wander among the graves.

Scattered among the MSC are a few Lay members of the Chevalier Family, as well as one or two other non-MSC who laboured along side MSC priests and brothers.

While the cemetery was in use from an early time during the MSC ownership of the property, it was only consecrated on the 29th March 1944, by Most Reverend Francis Xavier Gsell msc the first bishop of the Diocese of Palmerston (now Darwin, covering the whole Northern Territory). The consecration stone marks the edge of the pathway into the cemetery.

The cemetery is composed of three sections; The older section, slightly raised beds with sandstone borders and white marble lead-embeded headstones, crowned with a cross of marble. 

The newer section is a lawn cemetery also of three double-sided rows, begun in the year 2002, it has metal plaques on low concrete supports.

The third section is a memorial house built in the style of a Tongan Fale (meeting house) with a large pink granite memorial stone naming those buried in cemeteries elsewhere than Douglas Park. A waterfall adorns the Fale.

A rose garden punctuates the second and third sections.

The consecration stone, statues and crosses, as well as the field-stone fences (probably the labour of the apostolic school boys) were all set in place during the time of the first section. The cemetery fence encompasses a large area – future predictions perhaps that many MSC would finish their days here.

Of special significance in the older section is the grave of Rev. Father Marie Pierre Treand msc, founder of the MSC Australian Province, and a contemporary of the founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Jules Chevalier. Originally from France, Father Treand had been in England to establish an Apostolic School at Glastonbury, Somerset, when called by Father Chevalier to come to Sydney, to help with the new foundations in Australia.

A tragic memorial standing at the base of the central white cross is to three MSC who were killed during the hostilities of the Second World War; Fr. David McCullagh, Fr. Ted Harris, and Br. Clifford Brennan. The original memorial stone marked the entrance to the older section, but had deteriorated and needed replacing.

The present pink basalt memorial in the Fale was made when the 2002 rennovations took place.


Old Public Cemetery

Good Shepherd Hill, St. Mary’s Towers

There is an old public cemetery on the hilltop behind the buildings
(now called Good Shepherd Hill due to the statue mounted there)
where the grove of gum trees now stands.

It was established in the time of Major Mitchell and Dr. Jenkins, but the headstones are gone from there.

Research is currently being done on this cemetery, and a restored memorial is planned for the site.


Appin Cemetery

St Bede’s Catholic Church & Graveyard, Appin

St. Bede’s Catholic Cemetery at Appin is part of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Rosemeadow. The cemetery is owned and operated by Rosemeadow Parish. Copyright for information here is held by the parish. Kind permission has been granted to include information on this site, for which we are most grateful.
For all enquiries including those regarding burial or interment of ashes, please contact the Parish Office: phone: 02 4628 1385
or email:

An Old Colonial Gothic style church, St Bede’s is notable for its intactness and the fact that it still retains much of its original character. The church was designed by Father John Joseph Therry and construction commenced in 1837. Bishop Polding sent Therry to Tasmania in 1838 and altered the original design of the church.

Inspection of the stonework indicates that different tradesmen built the church in stages. It has a slate roof and iron roofed square tower, which once had a timber belfry. St. Bede’s has an inscription carved over the entrance that reads “J.P. EPUS A.D. 1841” indicating that work was completed on the church in 1841. The Cemetery associated with the church has many historic headstones.

St Bede’s Catholic church and graveyard are situated on four acres of ground centrally located within the township, on the corner of Appin Road and King Street.

View Larger Map

The graveyard has some fine examples of monumental masonry reflecting the Irish Catholic background of many of the early settlers of the district.

Index of Cemetery Headstone Names & Dates;

Surveyed in August – September, 1978, by Rev. Fr. T. J. Whitty M.S.C. Original Transcripts of Fr. Whitty’s notes held at St. Mary’s Towers.

Click here to download Fr. Whitty’s Cemetery Transcripts.


Wilton Cemetery

St. Luke’s Church of England Graveyard, Wilton

Town lots in the settlement of Wilton were first sold in 1844 and the Church of England received two acres for a church, school and parsonage in 1866.  The Church and adjacent cemetery which is of great historical interest is located on Wilton Road (formerly Argyle Street).

View Larger Map

Cemetery transcripts were kept at St Mark’s Picton (S.A.G. Reels 0195, 0196).  At various times from 1839 this parish included St. Matthews, The Oaks; St. Albans, Douglas Park; St. Luke’s, Wilton; St. Stephen’s, Thirlmere; and Yerranderie C of E.   Research material and cemetery transcripts held by the Picton & District Historical and Family History Society are available at Wollondilly Library – Picton Branch, Menangle Street, Picton. (

With the introduction of coal mining in the district, miner’s homes were built in the village and more recent growth has been experienced with young families moving into the town.

Probably the most eccentric character from Wilton was James Tyson, a multimillionaire who made his initial fortune providing meat for goldminers in the Victorian goldfields. He never married, left no will and, after his death, relatives were left to fight over his assets.

Anthology of Poetry, Prose, Prayers & Paint


The writings and art that follow reflect the experiences of people who have been part of the life of St. Mary’s Towers.


Lines Written at Broughton Pass:

Here limpid streams surround untainted earth
Secure from tyranny since Nature’s birth
To such steep rocks, the sons of freedom fly
“Lords of the lion hearted and eagle eye”
No other road besides this rugged Pass
Admits the roaming herds to steal the grass
No highway here for highwayman to ply
A th riving trade …
No wrangling …
No shop keeper …
No public here …
No mob …
Nor brazen statues, brazen lies to bear
No public meetings called with private crews
No nouveaux riches…
No quakers anxious to save human life
Save when their shepherds with the blacks have strife…
No civil officers so deep in debt
That only creditors aught good can get.
Here from all these, O Nature, keep keep me free
Beyond this Chrystal stream my dwelling be
Thy shady forest dark and meadows green
Refresh the soul where no such men are seen
Here harvests yield the unaluminous bread
No sky blue here, but milk from udders shed
Seated beneath the fig and climbing vine
We quaff the unadulterated wine
Or heaped with blazing logs our ample hearth
Resounds with social hospitable mirth
As in the olden time Come Briton come
Be no man’s servant make the woods thy home.

Thomas Mitchell (incomplete) poem; 1792 – 1855

Douglas Park

There is a place,
Gum wooded in its brown valley,
River bounded, Englished to green and colour at its core,
Sandstoned, bricked and timbered, castellated and barned,
Jumbled to a symmetry of form
that off handedly ignores its parts
Into a triumphant whole.
It is a place where a tilted cemetery dreams of a kingdom
Now and then encountered; a place of silence
Where the sorehearted traveller rests the limbs
Of bruised life
and sleeps.
It has been a place of men,
and holds the soft, hard flavours
Of Australian maleness; casual and forgiving
Gruff, astringent, awkward; strangely gentle
With the broken ones who claim its austere sustenance.
It is a place
Of healing, where the Spirit of its first people
Has long walked; where weariness has met delight,
Where chance transmutes to Providence, and one is cradled
Quietly, with no fuss
It is, above all, a place
Of God; whose voice, clipped to clearness as a muffled bell
Is always heard.
For here the inner ear
Is tuned by the long habit of the place itself
Which has learned, and teaches, listening.

Jane Chapman

Caroline Jones A.O. – Collection

Caroline Jones is a writer and broadcaster who worked at the ABC for more than 40 years – on current affairs programs such as THIS DAY TONIGHTFOUR CORNERS and Sydney morning radio.
For 8 years, on ABC Radio National, Caroline presented THE SEARCH FOR MEANING programs, in which hundreds of Australian men and women told stories of their lives. Four popular books were published by ABC Books from transcripts of those programs.
Caroline’s fifth book became one of the 10 best-sellers of 1998. Published in print and on CD, it is called AN AUTHENTIC LIFE -FINDING MEANING AND SPIRITUALITY IN EVERYDAY LIFE.
In 1988 Caroline Jones was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. In 1997 she was voted one of Australia’s National Living Treasures. In 1998 Caroline was appointed an Ambassador for Reconciliation by the Aboriginal council for Reconciliation.
Caroline often visited St. Mary’s Towers in her own search for meaning. Like so many who find there way to the Towers, she may have been touched by the natural world and its beauty. The following sketches reflect some of her experiences and are reproduced here with her kind permission. 
(click image for full size view)

Across the Dam, Sunset on Retreat. Douglas Park, January 1988
Watercolour on art paper. © C. Jones 2010

Consider the Lilies of the Field. Douglas Park.
Watercolour and pen on art paper . © C. Jones 2010

The Cemetery. Douglas Park.
Pencil on art paper. © C. Jones 2010

Fred’s Gladioli.  Douglas Park
Watercolour on art paper. © C. Jones 2010

Bunya Trees.  Douglas Park on Retreat, January 1988
Pencil on art paper. © C. Jones 2010

Untitled Still Life.  Douglas Park
Ink wash and charcoal on art paper. © C. Jones 2010

Untitled (Round Flower Garden).  Douglas Park
Watercolour on art paper. © C. Jones 2010

Over the Dam. On Retreat St. Mary’s Towers January 1988
Watercolour on art paper. © C. Jones 2010

The Longing

Seeking you Lord I enter our prayer-space.
Quietly trusting I’ll find you there;
Sometimes yes, I feel consoled by your touch,
Other times no, I seem to be alone.

When you’re there I truly know in my heart,
Sensing a deep affirming warmth within,
It seems we will never be apart.
And I know I am loved.

When you are away, I miss your touch,
My prayer just seems to wander,
And I enter the day alone,
Hoping still to find you another time.

Faithful still I seek you again,
Yearning for your love in prayer,
Yet finding only dryness and pain.
And I feel I am failing you.

Day after day I faithfully return,
To read your word,
To seek your face,
To feel your comforting embrace.

Until I cry in despair!
How much longer must I wait?
Questioning if you really care.
And I doubt your love.

Then from the depths of my heart,
Wells up my deepest desire,
Tears roll down my cheeks as I say:
All I want to do is love you.

Offering up this desire in our prayer-space,
At last my Lord you are there,
Your warmth again fills my heart.
And I am home.

Through long patience and fidelity,
Lord you have shown your loving care,
In deepening my longing for your touch,
You purified my prayer.

Hand in my hand, good times and bad,
I know now, my friend, you are always there;
When dryness returns, hope will carry me through,
For then, I will remember your love.

Andrew Ballesty 1992

Com Panis

Com Panis
Eat bread with me.
Let us sustain each other
Both above and below the salt of the earth:
Including all.

Break bread with me.
Let us heal each other
And let our broken-ness nourish us both:
And nurture all.

Ingest bread with me.
Let us grow together,
Gentling the very fibre of the other’s being:
Then tending all.

Talk bread with me.
Let us explore the love
That is manna to us both, each to each:
And reverence all.

Walk bread with me.
Let us go together
To our shared Emmaus and the love revealed:
And cherish all.

Encounter bread with me.
Let us search together
The surprises and delight in our mutual meal:
Thus serving all.

Be bread with me
And I will be bread with you:
Sustenance and healing;
Growth and loving:
Travelling, discovery, joy.
Bread of Life, from the harvest
That is gathered, flailed and threshed,
Kneaded and fashioned, for the loaves
That feed a hungering all.

28 Sept, 2005.  Anon.


“I sleep, but my heart is awake.
I hear my Beloved knocking”
Song 5:2

As my senses sleep,
And my soul strains to hear your stillness,
Light the knocking comes.
Urgent, gentle rapping of soft, insistent echoes
Circle-rippling through the emptiness that
You yourself have hollowed,

Soul-quickening, my heart quivers.
Immobile now, all spent with wanting-waiting;
Stilled my house, my doors securely barred
Against the enemies within, without. To wait and want
I needs must be alone, my altar bared,
Lamp-trimmed, the oil barely flick’ring, the darkness
Secretive , and

Knock louder! Call your need. I am asleep!
My heart is tendril-tiredness bound
Within its empty bed. Call your need –
It is the same as mine, but you are free!
Not free, my Love? Bound too, you who are boundless?
Tho’ limitless, you find me ready. but

Your knocking echo-calls me. Stirs the laden eyes
That sought the knowledge of your face. You have no voice.
Only your soft-tapping tells me that I must open
Not just the cherished, dark-held entrance of my soul,
But all my doors. You will not enter other.
It is a delicate opening, to a delicate lover, as I become
Desirable, and


Easter Sunday

I have thought of light and dark as two,
As opposites, implacably at war:
And thought that I am Dark and only You
As Light can strive with me, embattled at my core
Of self, to save and make me impenetrable.
I have believed that I must choose between
Both Light and Dark, thus me and You; but now
Your Light, it would appear, insists on being seen
As brighter for my Dark. Where I am most in night,
Your shining there is brightest. Where I am most alone
Your deep enclosing call compels me,
To bring me to my home.
There is but one choice, no choice at all: for You
Shall make the Light and Darkness only one.
Your Light makes my Dark golden, and my blackest night
Glows warmly as it liberates Your Sun.



It is the dailyness of our loving that entrances me;
The quiet comment; the soft referral of a question
That is sure of as soft an answer.
There is no chance that we may pass each other by.
You are ever close, stepping serenely to my whatever pace.
We talk in feelings and in murmurs:
Half-sentences that find silent completion in the other’s being.
We assume each other’s presence,
Unsurprised to find the assumption correct,
Yet heightened by the reminder of a touch,
A smile,
A gentleness that flows between us,
A glimpse of mischief,
A sliding tear.
Even as we turn willingly, outward to others,
Our backs are secured, each to each.
We move often as one, sometimes as counterpoint,
Always in relationship.
And when I miss my step, you match me rather than admonish me.
When I wander aimlessly , you lend me your purpose
And make it ours.
You are complete, yet you say I add to your completeness, as you, oh yes so surely, hold me to uncover mine.
You are my experience and I – mysteriously –
am part of yours.
Shall we move closer to each other yet?
This is your promise and my wishing,
Though not what I’d imagine, as you seem so very here already.
I await your quiet surprise for me …and yet, who knows but that in the end
I too may surprise us both?

S.M.T. 26.4.08

Sonnet on Romans 6:11

I have gone once more into the golden dark
Where void is not empty, and where lightness is;
Where freedom and obedience are one,
And joy is my Beloved’s, and I His.
I have found, since our beginning, unawares,
That I have put Him on, as flesh enfleshed
And now it is not possible to be
Other than Other, He and I enmeshed.
And I have asked, how is it,Love, that I
Knowing Your beauty, can forget your name?
‘Tis not forgot,’ replies my heart’s desire,
‘My beauty and your True Self are the same.”
If I am Other, so shall I be free
To reverence others, as You reverence me.

The Response.

“Come then once more into to golden dark
Where void is not empty and where light occurs;
Where freedom and obedience are one,
And joy is my Beloved’s, and I hers.
You have learned, since we began, all unawaress
That you have put me on, as flesh enfleshed.
And now it is not possible to be
Other than Other, you and I enmeshed.
And you have asked how it may be that you,
Knowing My beauty, can forget My name?
‘Tis not forget: Know this, My heart’s desire,
My beauty and your True Self are the same.
If you are in Me, so you shall be free
To reverence others, as I reverence Thee.


The One I Love

The One I love…
Waits, gently insistent,
Trusting my inconstancy,
Touching my weakness with sure strength.

The One I love…
Calls, breathing my name
As tho’ I’d never a name before,
Framing my syllables with delight.

The One I love…
Comes, with a fierce tenderness,
Gathering my willing blindness
Into a fiery assent.

The One I love…
Hides, causing me to seek Him
With a lambent longing that
Fragments me into wholeness.

The One I love…
Withdraws, holding me at a cradled distance
Until He can bear my need of Him no longer.

The One I love…
Moulds, forms, fashions me
In a hungry flame that coruscates
My very being.

The One I love…
Dies, momently yielding up what He is
In a consenting passion that
Demands my company.

The One I love…
Lives, vibrantly, exuberantly alive
And fuels my appetite and zest
For loving.

The One I love…
Is. He graces my living with freshness. Endows my grief
with meaning. Grants my loneliness
A home. Binds my wilfulness
To obedience. Burns my anger
To compassion. And calls me –
Oh so willing- to a death,
That we may be
The One I love.


Trinity Icon

The Icon draws me in
Toward the Table
The Trinity waits for me.

Each person is relaxed
Patient in his waiting
They seem to know I’ll come.

Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid.
We welcome you with love
Come sit with us at table.”

I notice his hand –
It points to the cup
And I am afraid.

I know it’s the cup
Of suffering and pain.
He asks me to drink.

I hesitate
I look away
Yet still I am drawn…

Their charism is strong
And irresistible to me
It overrides my fear.

I take another step forward
And sit at their feet
I am ready.

The cup is offered
And I drink
While the Trinity looks on.

It is sweet to the taste!
This surprises me
I had expected bitterness.

But no – it is the sweetest
Most succulent wine
I have ever tasted!

I savour it
And feel a glow.
I am lit up from within.

“This cup will bring you pain
But your suffering will bring life
For it is mixed with mine.”

“Drink deeply,” says Jesus
“Take in my burning love
As we become one…”

“We shall give you a new heart
And put a new spirit in you
This is our promise to you today.”

I stay at the table
Surrounded by love
And the courage it brings me

Trish Coleman

Whatever Lord

She said “Whatever, Lord”
And found peace…
Can I say “Whatever, Lord”
And really mean it?

I am fearful of the whatever’s…
What can be,
What might be,
What could be…

I pray for healing,
For relief of pain,
To be able to stand upright
And do what needs be done!

Can I accept whatever comes?
Can I trust so fully
That the Lord will hold me
In the palm of his hand?

“Come my little one,
Let me hold you near,
Let me take your pain,
Your anxiety and fear.

“My peace I leave with you instead
And I will give you faith and hope
And the strength to endure
“Whatever comes’ “.

I give you my “whatever, Lord”
Though I’m not sure how sincere…
I believe in your love and faithfulness
“Strong and Constant is Your Love”.

Trish Coleman

Inspired by Barbara Johnson’s
“So, Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy”.

Together We Are Strong

Help me to carry,
I beg and I plead,
My cross is too heavy
Help me…

I look at him, beside me,
All battered and bruised,
As he asks in earnest:
“Help me…

“Help me to carry
The Cross of the Kingdom
As it weighs so heavy
Upon my shoulders.”

I am surprised
And humbled yet,
That he should ask me
So weak that I am!

How can I help?
I ask in dismay
I can’t even carry
My own little cross!

Yours is so big
I’d be crushed by its weight
“But no,” he says,
“Come, just try…

So we link arms
And balance the weight
And somehow, support each other
To carry the cross…

He’s right, you know,
It’s not so heavy
When we work together
When we share the load!

“Don’t despair, little one,
Don’t give up,” he says,
“As you can see,
Together we are strong!”

Trish Coleman

Inspired by Sieger Koder’s
“UNISON” in `A Time to Celebrate — The Folly of God’

Sweet Wine

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Flood my spirit
Course through my veins.

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Fill my heart with courage
Help me face and
conquer my fears.

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Burn within me
Provide precious healing.

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Enter every part of me
And bring strength to my bones.

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Pour yourself with abundance
Into my very being.

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Become one with me
Enter the depths of my soul.

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Fill me with trust in you
Help to welcome you.

Sweet Wine
Blood of Jesus
Be my sustenance
Be my life.

Be with me Lord
At every turn, every obstacle
Help me find peace and joy
In ‘whatever’ you ask.

As we travel this road
Stay close to me
Hold me in your arms
Never let me go.

Trish Coleman


The fig doesn’t blossom
And there’s no fruit on the vine…
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord
I will exult in God my Saviour.

My pain goes on
Suffering with no respite…
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord
I will exult in God my Saviour.

I ask, I plead for relief
And feel no response….
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord
I will exult in God my Saviour.

My heart grows weary
And my Faith is greatly tested…
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord
I will exult in God my Saviour.

I cry out in distress
And reach the edge of despair…
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord
I will exult in God my Saviour.

For I am truly gifted
With the love of my God
Yahweh – my strength,
Who says, “Fear not, little one,
I will not let you go.

Yes, I will rejoice in the Lord
I will exult in God my Saviour
He who is ever faithful
He who is my strength
And who will never leave me.

Inspired by Book of Habakkuk 3:17-19

Trish Coleman

Be Still

Be Still
And know that I am god
Be Still
And let me love you

Be with me
In intimate silence
Be with me
Deep in your heart.

Leave behind you
All cares and worries
Leave behind you
Fears and uncertainties

Focus your senses
On the beauty around
Focus your senses
On the sounds of nature.

I know there is pain
Allow it to be
I know there is pain
Give it to me.

Let me share
Your burden
Let me share
Your load

Be Still
And know I love you
Be Still
I am your God

Trish Coleman

Two Gifts

Sitting in the dark
Desperately alone.
Where is the hope,
The love I crave?

I ran away today
From all –
Curled up in a ball
I hid

Never one to give up
But now –
Too much to bear
Too much all alone.

Today is Pentecost
Day of Spirit
Time to celebrate
But not me!

Can’t raise a smile
Or be happy –
There is too much
Hurt and anger

Tears of frustration
All I can find
To bring to this
The Spirit’s Day.

No more “happy face”
This is me Lord!
Tears flow again –
Do you hear me?

Let me sleep
To silence the demons
For no more strength
To fight.

Yet through the haze
Mid the confusion
Two gifts I see
Being offered to me …

Courage is one –
Courage to stay
And confront the pain
“Courage, be not afraid”.

And the other?
Right Judgement –
The gift of choice
The gift of trust

I sense a new resolve
‘Mid the pain and dark
The courage to remain
The will to move on.

Trish Coleman
30th May 1993

The River and The Bridge

The River and the Bridge (excerpt)

Now even the rocky cliff face is too far from the river.
The River of Love seeks the river without.
I know deep down what needs to be done.
Will I be faithful?

Through the cool of the Eye (of the Needle) I descend,
In search of the river, in search of my heart.

At the bottom of the gully I come to a cave
Formed by water and wind, water long gone on its way down.
Is this close enough to Love? Fear still lives in me.
I see what the water has done,
Worn down the rockface, propelled trees and boulders in its wake.
Sometimes Love can be tumultuous,
Love can be strong,
It can leave its mark.
The water has shown the way down
And feeling the Divine pull anew,
I now see a new path to descend.

As I begin again a new resolve claims me:
‘If it’s what I really want to do, I’ll do it!’
I feel the force of this resolve, it is real
And I embrace it.

Prayers form my descent:
‘I am a man of courage! Help me not to run from myself, from You.’
‘If I really want it, I promise I will do it!’
Help me to see what I really want. No pushing, no willfulness –
Just uncover what might be hidden.’

The going down takes its physical toll,
And all the while I feel the River’s draw.
On I push engaged in a Holy Quest,
A task of faithful endurance,
One of faithfulness to Love and to myself.

I see it emerging from behind the trees: the river.
I come to its bank.
It is smooth, engaging, graceful.
Light reflects off its surface.
I feel the movement of the River within me.
I lay on its bank, far from the bridge, and I wait
Too exhausted to think.

Time passes.
I feel like a kid again.
Down the river people jump from Tower Rock and into the water.
Playfully I entertain the same idea.
I feel like a kid again.

‘I would’ve done it you know’ I say.
‘I would’ve done it if I really, really, really wanted to.’
Love knows and Love revels in my faithfulness.
I feel peace and joy flowing from my gut.

That night I have a dream.
I wake up knowing that another piece of the wall,
The one I place between me and Love,
Has fallen away.
I lie there in the morning light and let this truth soak in.

A.Mc. – D.P. 2010

Victoria Fitzpatrick

Victoria’s retreats at Douglas Park led to the following paintings of her experience and are reproduced here with her kind permission.

The Tree of Life. © V. Fitzpatrick 2011

The View Beyond. © V. Fitzpatrick 2011

St Mary’s Towers – 2012

Soft day … light rain,
Breeze soothes, caresses,
Blessed silences seeps
into marrow bone.
Prodigal fecundity –
sweet grass mown,
sheer, steel web,
Silent companionship –
strength on the way,
The Word sears deeply – healing, restoring,
God’s very self – our very own …

Mary, Mother
gentle presence,
softly croons love songs
of a child she once sucked
ad walked with to death,
Enfolding her mantle
around bruised spirits,
she croons the same love songs,
walks the same road …

Marea Roberts RSM
22 January 2012


Every night
The dark is long
Every heart
The desire is deep
Every one
Hearing within a silent Being
Still and waiting
At the bottom of a dry well.
Water within water
Nothing within nothing
Freedom within freedom
Love within love
Divine within me
And I within Divine
When everything within everything
That’s where God meets me
And I meet Him
And We are one
Everything becomes one
One from within
To one from without.

I see,
There is a night darker than any night
There is a day brighter than any sun
There is a power stronger than any strength
Graced moment! Quenched desire!
God alone is life…

Khoi Nguyen
August 2012

How to get here …


Car from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne

Leave the M5/F5 at Exit 88 (Picton / Wollongong exit). Drive towards Wollongong. After 3 km turn left at the Wilton / Almond Street sign, then immediately right at the Appin/ Argyle Street sign. After 3km, turn left into Douglas Park Drive. Follow this for 4km to St. Mary’s Towers front gate on the left.

Car from Wollongong

Leave Wollongong on the Picton Road and continue until you reach Macarthur Drive on the right. Continue on to the ‘T’-junction. Turn right and then immediately left into Douglas Park Drive. Follow this for 4km to St. Mary’s Towers front gate on the left.


By Train

If you are coming from Sydney Central you may need to change trains at Campbelltown for the Southern Highlands Line.

For train timetables and maps click links     

The Retreat Centre is 4km from Douglas Park Railway Station. As there are no taxis available, we will gladly meet your train.Arrangements can be made for pickups from Sydney Airport or Sydney Central Station if required.


By plane

The most convenient airport access to Douglas Park is Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International and Domestic Terminals at Mascot. Train services run from the underground stations beneath both Terminals.  So, if you are coming from the Domestic or International Stations you will need to head south towards Campbelltown Station where you may need to change trains for the Southern Highlands Line.  When on this Line alight at Douglas Park Station.   Trains may exceed the length of one or more of the platforms at this station. When boarding or alighting at this station, please travel in the rear 2 carriage/s.  Douglas Park is not attended by station staff, if departing from Douglas Park Station you may need to purchase your ticket when you arrive in Campbelltown.  The trip will take you a little over an hour depending on transfer times.

2019 Retreat Program

30 Day Retreat

29 Dec 2018
to 31 Jan 2019
30 day retreats offer the choice of:
• Life’s Journey Experience
• The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius
• Praying with the Mystics

Download Brochure


31 - 8Come to Me
Retreat Team
Download Brochure
10 - 19Life’s Healing Journey
Retreat Team
Download Brochure
21 - 29Directed Retreat
Retreat Team



8 - 16Directed Retreat*
Retreat Team
9A Taste of Silence: A guided day retreat
Michelle Vass
Download Brochure
22 - 28Letter to the Hebrews*
Michael Fallon msc
Download Brochure
29 March -
4 April
Trinity – Heart of our Desiring*
Colleen Rhodes rsm
Download Brochure


12 - 14Palm Sunday Prayer Weekend
Retreat Team
14 - 21Easter Guided Retreat
18 - 21Easter Triduum
24 - 28Living Silence – Everyday Contemplation
Michelle Vass
Download Brochure


3 - 11Luke’s Gospel*
Michael Fallon msc
Download Brochure
13 - 21Acts of the Apostles
Michael Fallon msc
Download Brochure

30 Day Retreat

30 May 2019
to 2 July 2019
30 day retreats offer the choice of:
• Life’s Journey Experience
• The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius
• Praying with the Mystics

Download Brochure


1 - 9Loving God with the Mystics
Michelle Vass
Download Brochure
11 - 20Life’s Healing Journey
Retreat Team
Download Brochure
22 - 30Directed Retreat*
Retreat Team


12 - 15The Art of Film: Taking it to Heart
Prayer Weekend
Dominic Gleeson msc
Download Brochure
19 - 21The Contemplative Professional
Prayer Weekend
Lou Nulley
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2 - 10Praying the Psalms with Jesus (Pt2, Ps51-100)*
Michael Fallon msc
Download Brochure
11A Taste of Silence: A guided day retreat
Michelle Vass
Download Brochure
16 - 22Living the Song - Prayer with the Song of Songs*
Pauline Compton fdnsc
Download Brochure
23 - 29I hold you, I see you: God enfolding us in Love*
Dominic Gleeson msc
Download Brochure
30 August -
1 September
Men’s Prayer Weekend
Paul White
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18 - 26Spirituality of the Arts
Michelle Vass
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27 - 30Lifting the Veil - Living in Liminal Space
Prayer Weekend
Fr John Armstrong
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4 - 10Flowing in the Light - Prayer with Mechthilde of Magdeburg*
Michelle Vass
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18 - 20Abide in my love - Jn 15: 1-17
Prayer Weekend
Pauline Compton fdnsc
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25 -31I call you Friends*
Michelle Vass
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1 - 3Women Mystics
Women’s Prayer Weekend
Michelle Vass & Pauline Compton fdnsc
15 - 18Mindfulness & Prayer
Lou Nulley & Michelle Vass
Download Brochure
22 - 28Entering the Mystery of Contemplation with Teresa and John*
Michelle Vass & Michael Fallon msc
Download Brochure
29 Nov -
5 December
Advent Retreat*
Retreat Team


6 - 14Directed Retreat
Retreat Team

30 Day Retreat

29 Dec 2019
to 31 Jan
30 day retreats offer the choice of:
• Life’s Journey Experience
• The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius
• Praying with the Mystics

Download Brochure


31 Dec -
8 Jan 2020
“Praying with Jesus”
Retreat Team
10 - 19Life’s Healing Journey
Retreat Team
21 - 29Directed Retreat
Retreat Team

Retreat Team and Staff


Each retreat is supported by a retreat team of dedicated spiritual directors who listen to and enable individuals to respond to the Spirit of God in their heart. Ongoing Spiritual Direction is offered by our directors. Please contact your director of choice personally to make an appointment.

The Retreat Team …

Ms Michelle Vass (Director)
Sr Pauline Compton fdnsc
Fr Michael Fallon msc
Fr Dominic Gleeson msc
Fr Thang Nugyen Nhu msc

Ms. Michelle Vass

Director, St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre

“Silence is praise for You – silentium tibi laus” (St Jerome’s translation of the Hebrew Psalm 65:1).

I consider it a special blessing to work with the retreat team here at St Mary’s Towers, building on the wonderful tradition of profound silence, and serving the needs of those who come here seeking solace, peace and the love of our compassionate God.

I believe passionately that there is a need to recover and allow to emerge, new creative ways of contemplative living based on the richness of our Christian heritage. In a special way it is through the Spirituality of the Heart that we keep in touch with the living, loving power of God, and find the freedom to do this. Our Centre, named after Mary our mother and sister in faith, is a ministry of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Mary’s example of pondering and beholding the presence of Jesus in her heart remains an inspiration for us today as to how to let Christ be a loving presence in our hearts, for our world.

In 2002, I completed a Master of Arts (Theology) at the Australian Catholic University Canberra. Subsequently in 2008, I undertook further studies in Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry (specifically the practice of Spiritual Accompaniment). I look forward to continuing to share in this special work of accompanying others on their spiritual journey.

Sr. Pauline Compton fdnsc

My life-long association with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart began with growing up in Randwick, the first MSC parish in Australia.

After joining the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, my early ministry was in the field of education. Following this I have been involved in the sacred ministry of spiritual direction and Leadership in my Congregation.

During 2014 I had the opportunity to experience and study the Ignatian Exercises at St. Beuno’s Spirituality Centre, Wales, in preparation for re-joining the team at St. Mary’s Towers. I feel very privileged to accompany others in their spiritual journey at St Mary’s Towers and to be in ministry with my brother Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

Fr. Michael Fallon msc

I made my final profession as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1961.

Saint Mary’s Towers is the spiritual heart of our MSC mission, and this is the fourth time that I have been graced to live here: first as a secondary school student and novice, then as a teacher, and then, when it ceased to be a school and was set up as a Retreat Centre, as a leader of the community in the early ‘80s. I have been involved in educational roles for the most part and I have published commentaries on Sacred Scripture.

In 2014 I was asked to join the retreat team here at Saint Mary’s Towers. It is a privilege to accompany those who come to this beautiful spiritual home for days of retreat.

Fr. Dominic Gleeson msc

Dominic continues with the St. Mary’s Tower’s retreat team and he comes to us from ministries in MSC parishes around Australia.

Dominic completed some further studies in 2010 and in 2011 graduated in the Siloam program for spiritual directors offered at Heart of Life in Melbourne.

Dominic is also engaged in retreat ministry and spiritual direction for young men in their beginning years of seminary life and with on-going formation.

Retreat House Staff…

Ms. Sue Clark


It is a pleasure to work in a deeply spiritual place. I hope to bring administration skills gained through many office environments since 1981 and my 10 years of co-ordination skills acquired in the catechist ministry of my parish. I really enjoy making sure that our retreatants feel welcome and at home.