THE MONASTERY

190 Vincent Street, North Perth. WA
AUSTRALIA

A Mission of the Redemptorists

Short history of the Redemptorists in WA

The Redemptorists were invited to Perth by Bishop Matthew Gibney and took up residence in Highgate on 6th October, 1899. The initial community included Fr William Plunkett CSsR, Fr Patrick Clune CSsR, Fr Cornelius Hunt CSsR, Br Pius Cleary CSsR and Br Brendan Hannigan CSsR.

Within two days of arriving, these Redemptorists began their first mission in the Cathedral Parish of Perth. This mission was deemed “undoubtedly blessed by God and a great success.” This included the reception of 26 adults into the Catholic Church and the enrolment of over 600 parishioners into Confraternities to help maintain the new fervor engendered by the mission. The Redemptorists had arrived and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the primary intention of the Redemptorists in Western Australia was to conduct these soul stirring parish missions.

In December 1899, Fr Martin McDonnell CSsR joined the community and two Sunday Masses were celebrated in Highgate Church in addition to the parish missions.  The next year, the Community Superior, Fr Plunkett died in Sydney while attending the Eucharistic Congress of 1900 where he was engaged as a speaker. Fr Hunt CSsR became the new Superior and Fr Eugene O’Neill CSsR joined the community to maintain the momentum already begun.

Fr Hunt began the building of the present Monastery and Church, laid the foundation stone in 1902 and was there to see it opened on 13 September, 1903. Fr James Hegarty CSsR, an outstanding preacher joined the community to further bolster the missions.

In 1911, Fr Clune CSsR was appointed as bishop of Perth to succeed Bishop Matthew Gibney and in 1913, he became Perth’s first archbishop.  He was given two rooms in the monastery for his personal use so that he could remain as much a part of the community as he was able to as archbishop.

In 1912, another wing was added to the monastery and the priests of the diocese came here for their annual retreat. The day after the retreat, Archbishop Clune would allow the Brothers to use his car for a day off after their hard work of caring for the priests.

Parish missions were a new phenomenon in Western Australia and it was great pioneering work among the people of the West. The fiery Fr Hegarty CSsR stirred them up wherever he went and the other community members played their part in evangelizing the people. From then on, the missions became a normal thing in parishes throughout WA and every parish was expected to have a mission at least every three years.  In 1977, a team from the monastery set out for 3 months in a kombi van to give missions to all the outback parishes in the Dioceses of Broome and Darwin.  These experiences were again repeated in more recent years.

Retreats were also an integral part of the mission of the Redemptorists in WA. Retreats to Religious Sisters and Brothers as well as retreats to clergy, schools and to laity were regular experiences. Fr John McGill CSsR built the present Retreat House which was opened in March 1967 and staffed by Redemptorist Brothers for the first 20 years and since 1988, Mrs Jan Broderick has been the Retreat House Manger.

The Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help began in September 1950 with Fr Bill Dunphy CSsR as its originator and it continues to attract a full church each Saturday. As well, many of the Redemptorists since Vatican II became qualified to offer spiritual direction and counselling to those who came seeking help and the Monastery was always a place of welcome for those in need.

The Monastery church has been a vibrant place of mission since it opened and to this day the celebration of the Eucharist each day, and frequent opportunities for the sacrament of Reconciliation are important foundation stones of its mission. And throughout the 110 years since it opened, the Monastery Church has welcomed and formed people to share in its mission, and thousands of people have been formed in the Redemptorist charism through participation in the Shalomites Choir, as musicians and in choirs, youth groups, social justice groups,  prayer and meditation groups,  confraternities, Charismatic renewal, RLC,  AA, Liturgy teams, Paulian solo parents, art and craft, gospel reflection groups, St Vincent de Paul, church décor teams and parish mission teams.

Today

The Monastery community continues its mission in the same sprit as St Alphonsus and the founders in Perth. Redemptorists seek to be witnesses of the good news of Christ by welcoming people and helping them feel included no matter their life situation or story.