The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart was an order founded in France in 1854. By the late 1800s, the order had grown and in 1885, missionaries were sent to Papua. Sometime later, the order extended further, establishing headquarters in Sydney. It was there where missionaries were trained and later ordained, then sent out to mission centres across Australia, Papua and Torres Straits islands.
The Sacred Heart Croydon Monastery was officially opened on Monastery Hill by Archbishop Mannix in April 1939 - a new seminary for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The complex featured a chapel, library, cloisters, classrooms, refectory, kitchens and domestic offices. From its very origins, Monastery Hill has been a place where the spiritual life could be nurtured and developed.
From 1985 to 1991, the Monastery served as a centre for various religious groups. In 1991, the Monastery building complex and 12 acres of land were sold to the Archdiocese of Melbourne to serve as a new parish centre named Sacred Heart Parish (following the merger of the Croydon and East Ringwood parishes, St. Edmund’s and St. Francis de Sales).
In 2000, the original chapel was extended and the new Sacred Heart Parish church was built to accommodate the growing number of parishioners.
Today, the heritage-listed monastery building, affectionately named Monastery Hill, remains a place of learning, spiritual living and a communal hub for the surrounding district. The accommodation and facilities within Monastery Hill have been updated and opened to the wider community as the Sacred Heart Parish Retreat Centre.
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