The Cardoner Project began at St Aloysius' College due to the enthusiasm and aspirations of those 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 in their year after school. In response he led a group of boys, mainly from his Studies of Religion class, to Vietnam on their first ever post-school Immersion. Following that, the number of Immersions grew and long-term volunteering placements for young adults in Vietnam also 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.
In 2014, The Cardoner Project acquired its own headquarters, Jesuit House in Broadway. It allowed the Project to develop as an organisation able to assist young people to deepen their commitment to the ongoing mission of the Church in Australia. Crucially, The Cardoner Project now includes other young people who did not experience a Jesuit education. Young women are part of the work of The Cardoner Project, and our gender balance has increased to the point where it almost equal representation.
Initially, two young men worked for one year as volunteers in the Vinh Diocese of the Catholic Church in Central Vietnam. Since then some 105 volunteers have followed them in Vietnam, Thailand and Micronesia for six- to twelve-month placements. The Cardoner Project has also placed around 600 short-term volunteers on Immersions to our partner communities around the world.
The Cardoner Project also participates in local initiatives where our university students volunteer their time to support disadvantaged communities at initiatives around Sydney.
In 2016, we saw substantial growth of the model of The Two Wolves: Community Cantina with its twin and inseparable foci of mission to young adults, and social enterprise. Our volunteer community swelled to over 350, and our offerings for their human, spiritual and intellectual formation, have tried to keep up with that demand. They have formed a vibrant and warm community of friends, encouraging each other to seek the magis - the greater and deeper all the time.
We also saw the launch of The Two Wolves: Abroad as the new name for our overseas programmes. The two arms of the social enterprise are now much more closely linked, as pathways for
the formation of our young adults, in the service of the poor. Our Immersion offerings have expanded to meet the strong demand for these transformative experiences of service. 2017 saw the doubling of our 3- to 12-month overseas volunteering programmes, now known as the Cardoner Volunteer Corps (CVC).
2017 was another year of growth for the Project, having launched the Jesuit Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (JCSE) and The Two Wolves: Leadership Collective. In these programmes, we are driving ahead with the development of our linked social enterprise and social inclusion projects. These projects are the deepening of our commitment of our faith seeking justice.
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.