The diocese is blessed with five religious congregations and organisations offering retreats (individual and group, or for parish groups), prayer, spiritual direction, and opportunities for taking time to reflect and pray within a supportive community. Getting away from the busyness of everyday life and immersing yourself in a quiet environment can provide the ideal environment for you to really focus your attention on listening to God. Below is a list of retreat centres in the diocese including links to their websites.
Hartzer Park Retreat & Conference Centre, Bowral
Set on 16 acres of lush countryside in Bowral, Harter Park is in a world of its own and is renowned for providing a tranquil and peaceful escape. Groups and individuals from all walks of life are welcome and accommodated at Hartzer Park.
Set in semi-rural surroundings in a peaceful setting, Mount Carmel Retreat Centre—under the auspices of the Discalced Carmelite Friars—is a place for individuals and groups to get away from the stresses and strains of modern day life and develop their spirituality by means of retreats, conferences and study groups.
The Hermitage offers retreats for those seeking some time in prayer. Accompaniment or Spiritual Direction is available for retreatants, or guests may choose to take some time for a private retreat. Catering or self-catering is available.
Set in the escarpment surrounding Jamberoo, The Abbey offers a place where people can find peace through silence, nature, open spaces and prayer. Hospitality is a Benedictine charism which enables the community to share the monastic life with guests who come to the Abbey seeking God.
Set on 500 hectares of natural bush land, St Mary’s Towers is home to a way of life. In keeping with the charism of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, it is steeped in a spirituality of the heart. This creates a beautiful and peaceful environment with a supportive and praying community for anyone seeking to relax and enjoy communion with God.
Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.