Magnificent Star of the SeaJune 7, 2023
A magnificent place for families and people who want to get away is how Sister Margaret McGrath describes the Star of the Sea Guest House in Apollo Bay, South West Victoria, where she has been the Manager for the past three years.
“The most satisfying aspect about my ministry here is to see the look on people’s faces when they are leaving.
“People are just thrilled at the end of their stay. They are so full of joy and gratitude”, said Sister Marg.
Star of the Sea is available for retreats, conferences, school camps and family groups. It aims to support family life by offering a place of reflection, relaxation, community and tranquillity.
“As far as I am concerned, it is open to anybody. The motto is to strengthen family life, but then we do have groups, such as a photography groups, bushwalkers, Catholic groups, Afghan groups and many more”.
Star of the Sea can sleep a maximum of 25 people. There are cooking facilities, a games room and entertainment room.
“Families love coming here because we have large areas where kids can play cricket or football.
“From the property you can also see the cows in the dairy farm next door, and it is just a ten-minute walk to the ocean”.
Not surprisingly ‘word of mouth’ is Star of the Sea’s main advertising tool.
“Although there are bookings well into next year there are vacancies for the rest of the year, particularly on Mondays to Fridays. The weekends are in the most demand and tend to book very quickly”.
Margaret, who spent 41 years as a primary school teacher, including 31 years in remote aboriginal communities, said her enthusiasm for her current ministry wasn’t dampened by the fact that a few short weeks after she arrived in February 2020 the guest house was forced to close. Due to the pandemic, Star of the Sea was closed for almost a year.
“The biggest blessing came from members of the local community who organised a joint farewell for my predecessor, Sister Liz Callen and a welcome for me in the first week.
“It was magic during the Covid lockdowns as I got to know a lot of people at the gathering and I made some great friends.
“When my birthday came there was a knock on the door, phone call and texts and people were always looking out for me”.
When asked the question about whether she sometimes gets lonely managing the guest house on her own, with the support of cleaning and maintenance staff, Margaret is emphatic about the piece of paradise she currently calls home.
“People often ask me do I get lonely and I am always pleased to say I am not! When I finish all I need to do inside, I tend to go for a walk. The flora and fauna is amazing. I am content in just taking in the beauty of this remarkable place.”
If there are any sisters out there who have the desire, time, good health and energy and would like to share the ministry with me you would be most welcome. Just be in touch to have a chat or send an email.
Margaret McGrath RSM
61 Noel Street
Apollo Bay VIC 3233
Phone: 03 52376729