The Quandamooka Peoples have lived on Terrangerri (now known as Minjerribah or North Stradbroke Island) and Moorgumpin for a very long time.
Scientists say at least 25,000 years, however we say longer. Our traditional estate – Quandamooka, the waters and islands of Central and Southern Moreton Bay and the coastal land and streams between the Brisbane to Logan Rivers, gave life to us in a time beyond memory.
There are three clans that comprise the Peoples of the Quandamooka. They are the Nughi of Moorgumpin (Moreton Island) and the Nunukul and Gorenpul of Terrangerri (Stradbroke Island).
We hold our heads high as Traditional Owners with strong identity and culture.
We are the Quandamooka People. We are the people of the sand and the water.
Our people have retained our distinctive culture and we are living proof of our continuous occupation and cultural practice. Our traditional practices have been upheld in contemporary form. Our People travel regularly through Quandamooka land and sea caring for Country.
Through consultations with our Elders and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, we work together to protect our lands and sea country in many ways, including taking part in cultural heritage mangement, Enviromental Impact Assessments, negotiating over developments, educating the public and maintaining land and sea management responsiblilties.
Caring for our Country is our business. It always has been and always will be.
We sing its songs, tell its stories and dance to its rhythms to give honour and thanks to keep our place in its heart.
Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre acknowledges the Quandamooka people who are the traditional custodians of this land. We pay respect to the elders past and present on whose land we are, acknowledging the loss of lands, culture and treasures, knowing the consequences for people, communities and nations, but believing we can walk together to a better future.
Sugar Farm to Field of St Joseph
Capt. Hope (1817 – 1894) grazier, sugar planter and miller, came to New South Wales in 1843, moving north to Moreton Bay in 1848 to settle at Kilcoy. In 1850, he purchased 800 acres of land at Raby Bay which he named Ormiston after a village on the family estate in Scotland. It was here that the Hon. Louis Hope grew the first sugar cane in Australia in the 1860’s and built his home now known as Ormiston House.
The Carmelite Brisbane community lived for 38 years in Auchenflower House, which served as a temporary monastery, until funds could be raised and a site located for a regular monastery. In 1959 the Sisters bought the present property at Ormiston.
The 22 acre property included Capt. Hope’s home which was in a state of disrepair. Over a period of years a committee of devoted helpers of the community slowly and painsakingly restored Ormiston House to something of its original grandeur. It is now a heritage-listed tourist attraction, managed by a group of generous volunteers: The Ormiston House Advisers and Friends Committee and their helpers.
It took six years to build the new monastery and in 1965 the Carmelite sisters transferred from Auchenflower to Ormiston. They are a community of contemplative women who belong to the world-wide Discalced – Teresian – Carmelite Order. Called to follow Christ in initimate friendship and love, theirs is a life of prayer at the service of the Church.
The Carmelites strive to embrace all people in their prayer, particularly, the poor and suffering in every part of the world. They believe that the love they show to one another not only builds up the community, but has an influence far beyond the confines of their monastery. They receive countless requests for prayer from people in need.
While an enclosed order, they open their hearts, prayers and lifestyle to many people. Visitors to Santa Teresa are most welcome to join the Sisters for their 7.00am Eucharist or their celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours in their chapel.
In 1980 the Carmelite sisters sold 4 acres to the Cenacle Sisters to establish their retreat centre on farmland which the Carmelite sisters had named the Field of St Joseph.
In December 2009, the Sisters joined Archbishop Bathersby to celebrate Eucharist in the Santa Teresa chapel and view the relic of St. Therese set in the altar. Their Carmelite spirituality is a great gift in the life of both the Archdiocese of Brisbane and the Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre.
Cenacle Retreat Centre
On arrival in Brisbane in 1980, the Cenacle Sisters, from New Zealand, negotiated the purchase of 4 acres of farmland from the Carmelite Sisters’ property at Ormiston for the purpose of establishing a retreat centre.
The Cenacle retreat centre was officially blessed and opened by Archbishop Francis Rush in 1984. Till its closure in 2005, the Cenacle facility provided five double rooms with ensuites, seven single rooms, a 3 bedroom cottage, a dining room, conference room, chapel and a reading room.
In accord with the vision of the Cenacle congregation:
- We companion people on their faith journey in the midst of life. Living justice and Gospel values/ we draw from our experience of God/ creating a place where people can encounter God.
- We express this mission primarily through retreats/ spiritual direction/ supervision/ facilitation/ formation projects/ spirituality and poetry workshops and young adult ministry and music ministry.
- The Cenacle Sisters initiated many of these ministries and had a formative role in training retreat directors. Responding to people’s needs for faith formation, the Sisters created flexible and accessible programs by taking Retreats in Daily Life and spirituality courses out among the people.
Sr Pat Clouston was the mainstay of the Cenacle ministry for nearly twenty-five years and oversaw the maintenance and development of the Centre. She was ably assisted by a team of Sisters and Fr John Reilly sj and Fr Gerry Kalinowski who led retreats and gave spiritual direction to clergy and laity over this period.
The Archdiocese continues to honour the legacy of the Cenacle Sisters through naming the dining room, The Cenacle and the cottage, Couderc Cottage, as tangible signs of this rich heritage.
Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre
The Cenacle Retreat Centre was purchased by the Archdiocese of Brisbane in 2006 after the decision by the Cenacle Sisters to withdraw due to declining numbers.
After years of planning, the site was blessed by Archbishop Bathersby on 19 March 2009. Major new construction and the upgrade of existing facilities followed. The Centre was officially opened and blessed by Archbishop Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia on 4 October 2009.
The Centre was renamed the Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre and dedicated to the patronage of St Therese of Lisieux, a young Carmelite saint whose ‘Little Way’ of spirituality reminds us that ‘love can do all.’
Fr Chris Gleeson sj was appointed the inaugural Director of the Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre in January 2008 until his reassignment in January 2011. Since then, the Centre has been run by a Management Team from Evangelisation Brisbane under the auspices of the Archbishop.
The Vision of Santa Teresa is to be a place of:
- Encounter with God
- Quiet Prayer and Reflection
- Spiritual Formation
- Great Natural Beauty
- Refreshment and Enjoyment
- Rich Heritages
Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre, drawing on its rich heritages as Quandamooka Country, Carmelite farmland and the Cenacle Retreat Centre now provides modern accommodation and facilities for groups and individuals taking time for a retreat or spiritual formation activities.
With 30 ensuited rooms, 4 meeting spaces, 2 chapels, 3 dining spaces, spiritual direction rooms, adminstration offices, cottage accomodation for onsite supervisors, a well equipped kitchen and picturesque grounds, the Centre is well designed to serve the needs of those seeking spiritual renewal and reflection.
Santa Teresa welcomes thousands of guests each year to spend time in quiet prayer and reflection where they can experience the abundance of God’s love and wisdom for their lives.
St Therese inspire us to love more deeply.