Discalced Carmelites of the Australia Oceania Region


St John of the Cross Community

The St John of the Cross Secular Carmelite Community meet together monthly for prayer, social and continuing formation in Carmelite spirituality.  We currently meet at Mulgrave usuallly on the fourth Sunday of the month. Currently the Community consists approximately forty people varying in age from those born in the early 80's to those who are in their early 90's!  We continually have new enquirers with those who feel drawn to the community gradually moving through the various stages of formation and commitment.  

Fr Gerard Moran OCD from the Mt Carmel Retreat Centre Varroville, NSW, led the Community for a weekend retreat in November 2016, during which Peter Made his Definitive Promise. The photo below show some of the community who participated in the retreat and celebrated with Peter for this special occasion. 




October 2012: At the Salesian Lysterfield Retreat Centre, October 2012, during a weekend retreat with Father Gabriel OCD, the Community also celebrated with Davorka who was 'Received into Formation' and Josephine who made her First Promise. (Photo above, on right)

November 30 - December 2, 2012: During our annual Weekend Retreat from the 30th Nov to 2nd Dec 2012, at the Salesian Retreat Centre at Lysterfield, Patricia and Marie-Anne made their Definitive Promise and Peter  made his First Promise. Fr Greg Burke OCD led the Retreat. (Photo below)



A Short History

The seeds were sown for the beginning of the OCDS Melbourne Community not long after three OCD Friars moved to Melbourne to begin a new Community in 1981. The Friars were living in a small house in Newbigin Street, Bennettswood, which was rented from the neighbouring Parish of St Scholastica’s. In 1982, Fr John Landy OCD started meeting with three enquirers with a view to forming a Secular Group. Fr John Follent OCD was also meeting with another candidate who had moved from Brisbane and had already been received into formation by him. 

Early in 1984, Fr Hilary Doran OCD moved to Bennetswood and proceeded to set up the OCDS group, meeting at Bennettswood, with five candidates, while also meeting with four other enquirers who joined the group during that year. Five members of this 1984 group are still members of the Community today. Fr Hilary diligently and kindly continued to guide the group in formation and with spiritual direction until he was moved interstate. The group continued to expand under the care, teaching and spiritual direction of Fr Greg Burke OCD and later Fr Ross Colling OCD, Fr Aloysius Rego OCD and Fr Paul Maunder OCD along with guidance and instruction from the various ensuing OCDS Presidents, Formators and Council Members.

An interim council was set up in 1987 and the community began to meet in a newly built Priory / Student House, adjacent to Yarra Theological Union, at 96 Albion Rd, Box Hill, in 1988. The first canonical elections were held in November 1990. The ceremony for the canonical erection of the St John of the Cross OCDS Community was held at the St John of the Cross Priory, Box Hill on the feast of Christ the King, 26th November 1995. 

The OCDS Community is grateful that they were able to hold their meetings at the Priory from 1988 until September 2008. After serving in the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 25 years, sadly, especially for the Melbourne OCDS, the Friars closed the Priory of St John of the Cross in November 2008 and began a new venture, the care of Corpus Christi Parish, St Ives, N.S.W. The closure of the Box Hill Priory marked a new beginning in our history.