Carmelite Retreats

Growing in the ways of prayer


Sr Nory Ordiz

is a Carmelite Missionary sister and has worked part-time at the retreat centre for the past six years.  Sr Nory is university educated and brings a deep understanding of the writings of St John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila to her work.

Br Emmanuel Noel, OCD

is from Singapore, and just this year began studying at the Catholic Institute of Sydney in preparation for his ordination.  Br Emmanuel was a high school teacher prior to joining the Carmelites.

Fr Ferdinand de la Cruz, OCD

is the most recent addition to the Varroville Community.  In his past life, Fr de la Cruz has worked for Qantas.  He also studied in Sydney as part of his priestly studies.

Cathy Kennedy

is the Director of CREDO, the evangelising arm of the Sydney Diocese.  Cathy has also worked as a primary school teacher in the past, and still maintains her involvement with primary school children through volunteer classroom work.

Annemarie Nicol
Since stepping off a bus in the tiny village of Taizé, France, in 1994, Annemarie has been passionate about Taizé spirituality, its reflective style of prayer, solidarity with those who suffer and optimistic hope in the possibilities that faith can bring. Although only intending to spend a week on "the hill", as it's affectionately known, she called the Taizé community home for over a year, helping to facilitate weekly gatherings of young people, clean toilets and live the gentle rhythm of prayer and work. Some of it must of rubbed off on her because she, along with numerous others, have been praying together in the spirit of Taizé in Australia ever since (although she's not that keen on cleaning toilets). She is excited to be able to introduce others to this beautiful way of being with God.

John Charadia
Archdiocesan Creative Arts Adviser at the Catholic Education Office, Wollongong, has had 32 years experience working as a classroom practitioner, a specialist in the Creative Arts and leader of a number of Arts and Spirituality projects. Author of a number of publications on Creativity, Values Education and the Arts, John engages his participants in artistic and reflective ways.

Bishop Greg Homeming OCD
was the Regional Superior of the Discalced Carmelites and has previously been Novice Master and Retreat Director. He often gives conferences on Carmelite spirituality.

Fr Paul Chandler
was born in Toowoomba and educated by the Sisters of Mercy in Ipswich and the Christian Brothers in Toowoomba. After leaving school he began his formation and pre-service teacher education with the Christian Brothers. He taught at Catholic schools around the Archdiocese of Brisbane in Senior Primary and travelled overseas to teach in 1989.

In 2010, together with five amazing young men, he began Frassati Australia, under the patronage of Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati. This organisation, with the blessing of the Archbishop of Brisbane, seeks to form young men in the Catholic faith, to help them live that faith authentically and sacramentally, and to spread the spirit of the Gospel in society.

Fr Paul holds a Masters degree in Theological Studies, a Bachelors degree in Education, a Graduate Diploma in Ministry and diplomas in Teaching, Religious Education and Speech and Drama. He is currently completing his PhD in theology, focusing upon Theology of the Body.

Michele A Connolly, rsj
is a Sister of St Joseph of Lochinvar in the Hunter Valley, NSW. From 1976 she taught in secondary schools of the Maitland diocese.

In the late 80s she began theology studies, first at the Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne and then at the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago in 1990, graduating with M. A. (Theol.).

In the early 90s she taught New Testament at Catholic Theological Union, Hunter's Hill and in many parishes and spiritual renewal centres.

After returning from studies for the PhD in New Testament at the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, California, Michele joined the faculty of Catholic Institute of Sydney in 2001 to teach New Testament Studies.

Fr Brendan Purcell
is Adjunct Professor in Philosophy at Notre Dame University, Sydney. Having studied philosophy at University College Dublin, theology at the Pontifical Lateran University Rome, and psychology at the University of Leuven, he lectured in logic, psychology and philosophical anthropology at University College Dublin, retiring as Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophy in 2008. He was ordained a priest of Dublin diocese in 1967 and is at present assistant priest at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.

Anne Donald OCDS

has held roles in Unilever businesses as Head of HR and Overseas Training & Development Manager, responsible for management training and development in East Africa, India, Malaysia and Thailand. For the last 12 years she has worked as a Change Consultant in all sectors; facilitating individual, team and organisational change at senior and middle management levels with organisations including Unilever, Exane Paribas, Kraft Europe, Ecobank, Science & Technology Facilities Council, KPMG, Oxfam, Cafod, Fremantle Media Enterprises, DHL Exel and others.

Anne's expertise is in behavioural change for individuals, groups, teams and organisations and she works with them to understand the underlying mental models and beliefs that influence their relationships and drive their behaviour.

Working at this deeper level enables people to make incremental and genuine shifts in their mode of customary behaviour that have significant and positive effects in the world.

Fr Gerard Moran OCD
originally from Ireland has been living in Australia since 1993 and has been involved in the retreat and parish ministry and formation. After completing his priestly studies he studied Sacred Scripture in Rome and Liturgy in Ireland.

Janiene Wilson

has practised as a Catholic clinical psychologist and psychotherapist for 30 years. She was originally trained as a lawyer, but changed direction when she became a Catholic in her 20’s. John of the Cross became a good friend at that time.

She teaches pastoral theology at the Catholic Institute of Sydney. She is married and divides her time between Sydney and Bungendore in southern NSW. She loves physical space, cats, and reading the Catholic mystics and anything that makes the grade as good literature.

Anna Prifti
spent half her years in Europe, she now works and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Trained in the studio of iconography of a monk from Mount Athos, Anna has now over 20 years of experience in Byzantine iconography and Mural Painting. Since adopting Australia as her home in 2000, she has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a diploma of Graphic Design at Swinburne University in Melbourne.

Fr Aloysius Rego OCD
migrated with his family from Burma. He joined the Discalced Carmelites in Australia. After ordination and post-graduate studies, he spent some years teaching theology at the Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne. He has also been involved in retreat ministry. He has recently published a book on St. Therese of Lisieux entitled: "Holiness for All". 

Geoff Stumbles
is a retired Investment Banker. He is also a trained counsellor in grief, death and dying. He is a graduate of the Institute of Carmelite Studies in Washington DC. Geoff is married with two grown up sons.

Steven Miller
is a Senior Librarian at the Art Gallery of NSW. Steven has a great passion for art and religious art in particular. Steven was also a member of the Varroville Carmelite Community for several years.

Sheila Upjohn
is from Norwich where she was born and raised an Anglican. Now, late in life, she has settled in Australia and has also been received into the Catholic Church. Sheila is passionate about her faith and Julian of Norwich.

Tony Vaughan
has conducted many workshops on the chant, both in Queensland and NSW, over the last 15 years.

His early music education was at De La Salle College and St Brigid's Church, Marrickville ... both placed great emphasis on excellent liturgical music. Tony has attended many workshops & conferences on the chant, including intensive sessions in the USA & UK. He has directed a small Gregorian chant choir (Schola Cantorum of Brisbane) in Queensland for the last 15 years.

Tony Vaughan comments: "The interest in Chant over the last 8 or 9 years has been amazing. Young people want to know more about this incredibly beautiful and spiritual music, and where they can experience and learn it. This interest is not just in Australia, but happening around the world. Gregorian Chant is universally popular & one of our most precious links with the music & liturgy of the early Church".

"Many are surprised to learn that Gregorian Chant is the official and authentic music of the Catholic Church. They have never heard it in church! The teaching of Vatican II Council states that Gregorian Chant should be given "pride of place" in western liturgical music".
"The Gregorian Chant weekend (9,10,11 Sept 2016), at Mt Carmel Retreat Centre, will provide an opportunity for both beginners and experienced singers to learn & sing chant in a prayerful & wonderfully acoustic chapel. There will also be an opportunity to sing psalms, both in Latin & English".

Marilyn Rodriguez
is a Sydney-based writer and blogger, and spends much of her time looking after her five young children and writing for the Catholic Weekly. Her weekly contribution is called "Pitter Patter".

Fr Paul Maunder, OCD
is Prior of the Varroville Community of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers and has been in this position for four years. Fr Paul brings an expert insight into Teresian spirituality to the Retreat Centre, and his gentleness and compassion touches many.

Peter Presdee
is married with a family and was ordained a Deacon in the Wollongong Diocese in 2010. He now serves the Diocese as a prison chaplain. Peter describes his inspiration for his work as finding Jesus with the marginalised.

Fr David Orr
is a Benedictine monk and author who lives in the north of Sydney. He recently served a six year term as Parish Priest of Arcadia and is Prior of his Benedictine Community.

Bishop David Walker

was ordained bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay on 3 September 1996, and retired in 2013.  Bishop David’s ongoing support for furthering serious theological study and adult faith formation to the wider Catholic community led to the development and founding of the Catholic Correspondence Centre, The Centre for Christian Spirituality and The Broken Bay Institute.

Lorraine Murphy OCDS

is a long term friend of the retreat centre and Carmelite Friars, and is currently coordinator of the Varroville Discalced Carmelite Secular Community.


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