On the 23rd of July a small number of residents of the Bellarmine House, including Father David Braithwaite SJ, drove down the coast for a short retreat at Gerroa. The aim of the retreat was to build upon existing relationships, welcome fresh faces (with 2 new men joining the community this semester), and cover the logistics of the running of the house for the upcoming semester.
Gerroa was the perfect location to begin our semester as a community. As is often the case at Bellarmine House, one may find it difficult to remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of community life and living in the heart of sydney. The quiet serenity of Gerroa provided us all with a time to reflect and ground ourselves as both a community and individually before undertaking another 6 months of studying or working full time. Father Braithwaite led the group in a number of mindful meditative exercises, also saying Mass the Sunday morning. This ensured all members of the House were able to reconnect with their spiritual selves after breaks away from the House both abroad and domestically.
The weekend away was also a lovely way to welcome the 2 new residents, Dominic Bullock OR 2012 and Thomas Gray OR 2014 (Me). Speaking from my own personal experience of the retreat I found all of the men to be exceedingly welcoming and amicable, with each and everyone of the boys making time throughout their days to sit down and have a chat with Dom and I. Not only do these sorts of actions make us feel like appreciated members of the community from the outset, but the boys also provided examples of the actions and enthusiasm that members of the broader Jesuit community associate with The Cardoner Project and more specifically, The Bellarmine House. On behalf of both Dom and myself, I would like to send a warm thanks to both Father Braithwaite and the men of the house for making the transition into the community a comfortable and easy one.
There was an air of excitement over the weekend with everyone looking forward to the opening of The Two Wolves: Community Cantina below the residence. As discussed over the weekend, with this new venture comes more responsibility and time each of the men within the house needs to donate towards the project. With everyone more than willing to put in their time and effort towards the restaurant, we as a community are confident in its early success.
Overall Gerroa was a fantastic start to this new and exciting semester. With all of the residents of the house putting in to achieve a common goal, the nexts 6 months look as though they will be a time of vast, however positive, change for the community. We look forward to keeping you posted about the progress of the restaurant and other happenings within The Bellarmine House.