Sevenhill, in the Mid North of South Australia, was the birthplace of the Jesuits in Australia after they arrived in Adelaide as chaplains to a group of Austrians that fled Europe to escape political and religious oppression. The immigrants settled near the township of Clare and the Jesuits purchased 100 acres of land in 1851, naming it Sevenhill after the Seven Hill district of Rome.
In addition to serving Catholics as the population grew in the north of South Australia, the Jesuits of Sevenhill planted vines, built a church and opened a college, which became the first Catholic boys' school in the colony and also served as a seminary for the training of priests.
Sevenhill Cellars, St Aloysius' Church and the College building remain today as integral parts of the Jesuit community, with the Sevenhill property regarded as a site of spiritual and historic significance.
From their beginnings at Sevenhill, the Jesuits' presence in Australia expanded to include the eastern colonies, with the Austrians of South Australia joined by the Irish in Melbourne and Sydney. Both groups worked industriously to expand their role in education, missions, parishes and retreat houses. In 1901, an Australian Mission was formed and this became a fully constituted Jesuit Province in 1950.
Today, Jesuits in Australia are involved in a variety of missions, including extensive commitments in parishes, education, publishing, spirituality programs and social justice. Their early work with Aborigines in the Northern Territory has evolved into new programs involving Indigenous communities and there is a significant focus on the disadvantaged, including refugees and the homeless, unemployed and drug-dependent. The Australian Jesuit Mission to India is another major project.
More information at www.jesuit.org.au
Centre of Ignatian Spirituality
The Sevenhill Centre of Ignatian Spirituality provides a unique setting for prayer and contemplation within the tranquil surroundings of the oldest winery in South Australia's Clare Valley. Established in 1851, Sevenhill is the birthplace of the Jesuits in Australia.
The Centre offers accommodation in 24 rooms, some with en suite and others with shared bathrooms. Other facilities include a large church and small chapel, two meeting rooms and three dining rooms. All meals, which include home-grown fruit and vegetables, are fully catered and Sevenhill's award-winning table wines are offered with the evening meal.
The Centre, which is open to all denominations, is ideal for silent retreats, planning days, formation programs and day workshops. The park-like setting, shrines, the Stations of the Cross, surrounding vineyards and walking paths, including the nearby Riesling Trail, create an environment conducive to encountering God in a hospitable, peaceful rural setting.