~ Sevenhill College, St. Aloysius & Jesuit spirits ~









Back in the days when I was growing up in South Australia in the 60s & 70s, the old stone building next to St. Aloysius Church, known as the College (the images at the top show the Church on the right and a part of the College on the left), was the place of Ignatian spirituality, at least to me.


It wasn’t an official place of Ignatian spirituality like that which emerged years later in the Sevenhill Centre of Ignatian Spirituality or Sevenhill Retreat as it is more commonly known. I must have been living overseas when that was established.


Judging from the images above, changes/improvements were made to the College at some point as new rooms with dormer windows were added.


The College (a Jesuit Monastery or Abbey to some) was where the Jesuit fathers (priests) & brothers lived & where Ignatian spirituality, as I knew it, ‘Ad maiorem Dei gloriam’ (to the greater glory of God – the Jesuit motto) dwelled.


If you got inside the College you were lucky. If you got up the dark rickety stairs to the library you were very lucky, if not special. The library was dark & sort of dusty looking with rows of books.  Shelves & rows. I loved the smell of those old books & tomes, holding & touching them. And Latin. Old Latin. Hallelujah!


Who remembers our precious Jesuit, Fr Burke? He would counsel me about the value of books, about history, science, education & reading & so forth. Of course he was a scientist who also happened to oversee, or caretake, the seismograph set up down in the crypt under the Church. With consent of the Jesuits, the University of Adelaide set it up there if I recall correctly.


Fr. Burke was one of those men, a quintessential Jesuit spirit, who never said much but said a lot, like Father Holland & Brother Hanlon before him. In that, & other senses, the College was always the centre of intellectual progression & education to me all within the Ignatian-Jesuit cura personalis approach to the needs of people. Yes, ‘cura personalis’ is Latin & simply means ‘caring for the entire person’.


To this day I use this framework in practicing law & attending to the needs of people. It is quite simple in that one realises & shows respect for a person’s unique circumstances, interests & concerns & appreciation for his or her particular talents, gifts & insights.




The College is the stone building on the left of St. Aloysius Church with dormer windows.  Some of the images here are from Sevenhill Catholic Church, St. Aloysius here, some are from Sevenhill Cellars here while some are  widely available via Google & so forth.


Originally, the College was St. Aloysius College, an independent Catholic boys college, & the first Catholic boarding school in South Australia. Years later it was a seminary, a novitiate, a place for sabbaticals, contemplation & retreats, a place for aspiring priests to come for study & learning, to meditate, to pray. It remains a part of Sevenhill Cellars & Winery today.


Anyway, I’m not sure if Mum was there for meetings or I was there for additional Jessy (Jesuit) education. It was always on a Friday night. Either way I got more of it (Jessy education) just by being around Fr. Burke not to mention venturing up into that mystical place, the library.  True little fish-eater I was. More here on the history of the Jesuits at Sevenhill.




The College is, of course, part of the Jesuits’ magnificent Sevenhill Cellars & Winery that makes not just altar wine, for domestic & international use, but some of the nation’s top table wine. Indeed.


The College today rests serene in its setting of vineyards & gum trees.


Unlike any winery that I have ever visited, the Sevenhill Winery is an experience in itself. Established by the Jesuits in 1851, it is the oldest winery in the Clare Valley and it originally produced altar wine for the Catholic Church, but is now recognized for its premium table wines. 50 Shades of Age


There are numerous sites with reviews e.g. Trip Advisor if you’re interested in a visit. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours or more at this heritage place as there is much to see and do.






Looking back at the College and St. Aloysius Church.




Main altar of St. Aloysius Church.

How may times did I sing in this Church? Indeed, how many?

Large portions of my young life were spent in & associated with this place!




Vineyards looking back to the Church






The New Book






Who remembers the annual Corpus Christi and May processions?






The May procession culminated in the crowning of Our Lady, Mary, at her shrine/grotto on the grounds of Sevenhill.











The State Library’s Sevenhill Historical Collection has more vintage images which, while they are from the 1920s, show that little, if anything, had changed when we worshipped as young Catholics in the 1960s/70s. These photos could be us in our pristine white dresses, white veils and white socks.


There are various images of Sevenhill, St. Aloysius Church, Sevenhill College and Sevenhill Cellars available on the web, a testament to the thousands who visit this magnificent heritage place each year.


Anybody else got any memories of our days at Sevenhill and the local Jessys (Jesuits)?



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