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The Novitiate returns to Mittagong

25/04/2005: Australia

The Marist Brothers opened their first school in Australia in Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney on the 8th April 1872. Some three months later, on the 16th July, the Novitiate was begun. The Sydney Novitiate was given formal approbation on the 6th February 1876 and Brother Ludovic was officially appointed Master of Novices on the 16th June 1877. In 1878, due to an increase in numbers, the Novitiate moved to a twelve-acre property at Hunter’s Hill, where St Joseph’s College still operates today.
The Novitiate remained at Hunter’s Hill until November 1906. On the 26th November 1906, the Novitiate was formally transferred to the property at Mittagong, named Our Lady of the Hermitage in honour of our Mother House. Mittagong is 110km south of Sydney at the gateway to the New South Wales Southern Highlands. The Novitiate remained at this site until December 1984, when it was decided to transfer it once again to Sydney. During this time, it had welcomed and trained many eager novices, including Brothers Quentin Duffy, Hilary Conroy, Charles Howard, Jeff Crowe and one of the present General Councillors, Peter Rodney.
On the 12th March 2005, a ceremony took place once more at Mittagong during which Justin Golding was formally accepted into the Novitiate. Present at this ceremony were Brother John Thompson, Provincial of the Province of Sydney, Brother Anthony Shears, Novice Master, Brother Darren Burge, present Province Director of Vocations and Marist Life, Brother Peter Ernst, the previous Province Vocations Director and the brothers from the two communities presently living on the Mittagong property. During the ceremony, Brother John presented Justin with a Marist insignia and Brother Anthony presented him with a copy of the Constitutions, symbolising his formal acceptance as a novice.
It is fitting in this Marist Vocation Year that the Province of Sydney can welcome a novice once more into its ranks, and that nearly 100 years after the first occasion, the Novitiate has once more returned to Mittagong.

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