What we do

Santa Casa, Queenscliff

Santa Casa provides a sacred place of refreshment and nurture for body, mind and spirit. Through its staff, retreats and programs it seeks to offer:

  • A homely space where all feel welcome, especially the most vulnerable;
  • A contemplative container for the deepening of spirit;
  • A deep reverence for all creation;
  • A place to hold tradition within evolving consciousness.

2019 Retreat Program

June 2019: Tuesday 4th – Thursday 13th

Gems of Inner Truth

Facilitator: Liza Stewart

This retreat in the Ignatian tradition offers an opportunity to gain self- awareness.   Experiential exploration will reveal insight into the wonderful richness held in our inner world. Our quest to unwrap this inner wisdom is a challenging one, which at the same time can be difficult, inspiring, puzzling and exciting, as we will seek to answer the most revealing of all questions, ‘Who actually am I?’ There will be group discussion, silence, and the opportunity for individual spiritual direction.

Maximum Number: 8

Cost $800 (GST not included)

June 2019: Friday 14th – 21st

‘With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling…’ [T.S.Elliot, Little Gidding]

Facilitators: Madeline Duckett RSM

The drawing power of Divine Love in us has a story in each of our lives as we slowly learn to recognize and trust in the ebb and flow, and to move to deeper places of Divine union. Like nature’s seasons, Love draws us through seasons of abundance and scarcity, birth and death, growth and diminishment, suffering and joy. This retreat will help us to re-member our experiences and explore the ‘Eucharistic’ nature of Omega Love’s continuing call to BE and to BECOME MORE. During the retreat there will be opportunity for spiritual direction for those who wish.

This retreat is fully booked

Cost: $600 (GST not included)

July 2019: Wednesday 31st – Aug 7th

At the time of the Rising Dawn

Facilitator: Kerrie Hide

‘In this spiritual sleep in the caress of the Beloved
We relish all the tranquillity, rest and quiet of the peaceful night
That is the tranquillity and quiet of divine light”
– John of the Cross, Spiritual canticle 15:22

Drawn by the touch of the beloved in the night of our lives, we will create a communion of love longing, as we follow the invitations of dawn light arising in us, awakening unitive awareness. John of the Cross, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Teilhard de Chardin, and Beatrice Bruteau will be our guides.

Cost: $600 (GST not included)

August 2019: Sunday 18th – 25th

‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies….’

Facilitator: Rev Chris Hope

In the retreat we will reflect on the episodes of the Passion Narrative in the Gospels, particularly from the perspective of the disciples, female and male who are with Jesus on the way to Calvary.

We will keep in mind the words of St Paul: I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me.’

Cost: $600 (GST not included)


September 2019: Wednesday 4th – Saturday 7th

Centering Prayer

Facilitator: Helen Duffy

Centring Prayer is a receptive method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of Contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence in us.

Closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself, this method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship”. [Thomas Keating]

Cost: $300 (GST not included)

September 2019: Sunday 15th – 24th

Directed Retreat “Sounding  Solitude”

Facilitator: Madeline Duckett RSM

This is a fully directed 8 day retreat where retreatants are invited to begin from where they are and sense the still small voice within, calling them to where they might be. There will be the opportunity for spiritual direction each day at a chosen time as well as a daily contemplative time together for those who feel drawn to pray in communion with others.

Maximum of 6 Costs: $800 (GST not included)

This retreat is fully booked

October 2019: Tuesday 15th – 22nd

The Kingdom is Here. ‘You must know, the kingdom of God is among you’ – (Lk 17:21)


Facilitator: Rev Peter Varengo


‘An exploration of discipleship through the Gospel imagery of the Kingdom’

Jesus had hang-ups, none more persistent than his concept of Kingdom –

a reality understood as the life-giving and active presence of God in our world, embracing every dimension of faith, and expressed in the human experience of each day in the here and now.

Jesus’ Kingdom parables then become the blueprint of the personal and collective response of the believer who accepts the call to discipleship.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

November 2019: Sunday 24th – 27th

Prayer for the Universe 

Facilitator:  Mary Dennett RSM

Teilhard de Chardin’s Prayer of the Universe gives us a deep understanding of the presence of God in the Universe and the fullness of life that we share. These three days are a time for study and reflection on the richness of the spirituality that he presents in his writings.

Cost: $300 (GST not included)

Mary Dennett rsm MA. BSc(Ed) Grad Dip (Ed Admin) is a Sister of Mercy with many years’ experience in Secondary education. She has attended the Earth Literacy Course in Genesis Farm, New Jersey and completed a MA in Culture and Spirituality at Holy Names University in California. She is now involved in Education in the Universe Story and our understanding of the Universe as a primary Revelation of God.

December 2019: Tuesday 3rd -10th

Advent’s Longing

Facilitators: Carole Carmody RSM and Margaret Moore RSM

If you find yourself longing to nurture the desires of your heart, for quiet and peace, for walks along the shore with beautiful sunsets, this retreat may be an invitation to you .
Each day offers silence and contemplative spaces with a morning reflection, evening prayer, and optional Spiritual Direction.

This retreat is fully booked

Cost: $600 (GST not included)

2020 Retreat Program

To learn more about our Facilitators, click here.

March 2020: Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd

Exploring our Spiritual Connection with the Ocean

Facilitator: Peter Saunders

This weekend will offer a time of rest and quiet in Nature. The retreatant is invited to listen to how God speaks to their heart through Nature. During the weekend, retreatants will have the opportunity to relax and contemplate the beauty of Nature and God’s presence in the Ocean calling them to new life.

Cost $320 including single room accommodation and all meals.

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

May 2020: Friday 15th – Sunday 17th

Being Present to Presence

Facilitator: Cath Connelly

What if each of us is so full of Presence that we are at all times shining out like stars, and all that we have to do is get out of our own way so that we can live within the Presence that we already are? This presence is a connectedness to all – the Christ in all. Join spiritual director, retreat leader and Celtic harper Cath Connelly to spend a weekend using music, poetry, silence, art and spirituality to explore both Presence and how to get out of our own way! A delightful weekend of creative spirituality – and Cath will definitely be bringing her harp!

Cost $350 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

June 2020: Tuesday 23rd – 30th

Winter Grace – Seeking Wisdom’s Gifts

Facilitators: Carole Carmody RSM and Fr Hien Vu

This Winter Retreat offers the space to look beneath your experience, to savour hidden gifts, and to explore the deeper mysteries of your life.
It is supported by a spirit of silence, a reflection each morning and evening, optional individual Spiritual Direction, and daily Eucharist.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

July 2020: Monday 13th – 22nd

Hidden Treasure

Facilitator: Lisa Stewart

Unlocking the wisdom of the inner world is a wonderfully rich and exciting, though at times challenging experience. Self-awareness makes change possible, while at the same time opening the way for a more authentic relationship with God. This retreat in the Ignatian tradition is an intense immersion into an experiential exploration of the inner world, as we seek to unwrap the deepest and most revealing of all questions, “Who actually am I?” There will be group discussion, silence and the opportunity for spiritual direction.

Cost $800 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

August 2020: Tuesday 18th – 25th

“He Began To Teach Them Many Things In Parables …” (Mark 4,2)

Facilitator: Fr Chris Hope

We sit with the crowds at the lake and listen to Jesus explaining the mysteries of the kingdom in story form.
Their impact and perennial relevance will challenge us as we deepen our understanding of true discipleship.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

September 2020: Friday 18th – 25th

Trinity – Heart of our Desiring

Facilitator: Colleen Rhodes RSM

By the Word of God the heavens were made,
Their starry host by the Breath of God’s mouth. Ps 33:6

Trinitarian life is an extraordinary expression of joy that we are made to share. Although the Trinity was unknown to the ancient peoples, they knew God through God’s Word and God’s Spirit in a way that can renew and invigorate our relationship with God as Trinity. During this retreat we will explore ways of encountering the Trinity in our everyday life. It will be a time of prayerful reflection on the Triune God whose flowing life constantly draws us to share in the energy of God’s love. Each day there will be a reflection on a different aspect of our call to live into the beauty and wonder of the God in whose image we are made. We will contemplate the Trinity in creation and in the beauty and the challenges of our own lives and ponder the Mystery of God as Trinity and Unity that we see in the wonder of our cosmic home.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

September 2020: Saturday 26th – October 3rd

In the Gaze of Luminous Presence

Facilitator: Kerrie Hide

For our God is a consuming fire….Heb 12:29
In an atmosphere of prayerful silence we will create a communion consciousness. Together, we will ponder the contemplative nuances of unitive seeing from our oneness in luminous Presence. We will focus on the mystical symbol of fire expressed in the writings of Gertrude of Helfta, Marguerite Porete, Meister Eckhart, John Tauler, Teilhard de Chardin and Iia Delio. Ever attentive to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit enflaming our hearts, we will draw out implications for creations’ evolutionary flow into oneness in Love.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

October 2020: Sunday 11th – 18th

Teilhard de Chardin and the Way of Transformation Through Love and Suffering

Facilitators: Madeline Duckett RSM and Robyn Fizgerald

This retreat will explore central aspects of the spiritual journey of Teilhard de Chardin as a guide for our own inner unfolding to fullness of being in the Cosmic Christ. It will focus on the hidden, mystical power of love and suffering to transform our hearts towards becoming prophets of hope in a world in need of hope. There will be opportunity for spiritual direction and Eucharist.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

October 2020: Wednesday 21nd – 28th

Journey to Jerusalem, “Journey of Life”

Facilitator: Fr Peter Varengo

Luke’s Gospel narrative is structured around Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, the place of revelation and fulfilment, and the paradigm of the faith journey of faith and discipleship.

Through a variety of encounters along this road, the disciple is called to come to terms with personal identity and destiny.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

October 2020: Friday 30th – November 6th

Treasuring Our Later Years

Facilitator: Nicole Rotaru RSM

As we consider themes that take on a special significance in our later years: awakening to new possibilities; spirituality; meaning in my life now; relationships; gratitude; death – mystery; our days together will lead us into a deeper recognition of ‘see how I carried you, all along the road you travelled, on the way to this place.’ Deut 1:31 and an unfolding of ‘I am a foreigner in the land of old age and have tried to learn its language.’ May Sarton

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

December 2020: Tuesday 1st – 8th

The Heart Knows – Listen to your Heart

Facilitators: Carole Carmody RSM and Margaret Moore RSM

A time to ponder the deeper mysteries of the heart in this beautiful season of Advent. You are invited to savour your own unique experience of the Divine Presence, in quiet peace and contemplation

Each day offers a morning and evening reflection with opportunities for individual sharing with one of the directors if desired.

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

December 2020: Friday 11th – Sunday 13th

“Prepare the Way of the Lord …” (Is. 40:3)

Facilitator: Madeline Duckett

As the final weeks of the year move rapidly towards their endpoint and the consumer world revs o fever pitch enticing us to spend more money, this weekend is a time to step aside, rest and re-focus. Over these two days we will touch into the heart of Advent – preparing for the birth of the Christ into our world, into our lives and into our hearts. What “Pathway” am I preparing for God to walk?

Cost $600 (GST not included)

To book or for further information santacasa@ismapng.org.au

Other information about our Centre:


For bookings and further information contact:

Sr Lizzie Finnerty rsm
Santa Casa
33-35 Flinders Street
Queenscliff VIC 3225
Phone: (03) 5258 2661
Mobile: 0418 194 261

Website: http://institute.mercy.org.au/santa-casa
Email: santacasa@ismapng.org.au