The Cardoner Project began at St Aloysius' College due to the enthusiasm and aspirations of the students for further service opportunities beyond their final year of high school. The founder of The Cardoner Project is Fr. David Braithwaite SJ. On the sidelines of a school rugby match, Year 12 students asked Fr. David about volunteering opportunities on their year off after exams. In response he led a group of boys mainly from his Studies of Religion class to Vietnam on their first immersion. Following that, the number of immersions grew and long-term volunteering placements for boys in Vietnam became available. Adopting the name ‘The Cardoner Project’, what had been a part-time hobby for Fr. David turned into a full time commitment after his final ordination into the Jesuits in 2012. The Project began to take shape that year with the write up of a strategic plan and increased involvement from Old Boys.
In 2013, the Jesuits acquired the old bank building on the corner of Broadway and City Rd in Chippendale. This established Jesuit House, the first tangible home and headquarters for The Cardoner Project. In April 2013, the house opened up its top floor as an intentional residence for the ongoing formation of graduates from Jesuit schools. Currently there are 16 boys living on the top floor along with two Jesuits. Jesuit House serves as a volunteer planning centre and community for all involved with The Cardoner Project. It is a place of hospitality for study, planning and socialising and outreach to the poor. Since its start, the Project has run immersions and long-term volunteer placements in Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Ecuador and Mexico. Jesuit House has also made possible a number of local volunteering opportunities within Sydney.
The Origins of Our Name
During his early pilgrim years, Saint Ignatius received a powerful mystical vision on the banks of the Cardoner River near Manresa, Spain. Setting him on his path with greater clarity, Ignatius often referred to the experience in later life when seeking God's guidance for the Society.