My first Australia day was spent with Fr John and a fine group of 33 retreatants in Hartzer Park. Every retreat reminds us that an authentic conversion to the truly Christian way of life incites us to rise from the ashes of past sins, and move forward on the path to eternal life. Many of us can relate perfectly with the experience so beautifully expounded by St Augustine, and which retreatants will remember as being inscribed in the breakfast room at Hartzer Park:

"Late have I love Thee, O Beauty, every ancient, ever new! Late have I loved Thee! For behold, Thou wert within me, and I outside. And I sought Thee outside. And in my loneliness, I fell upon the lovely things that Thou hast made. Thou wert with me and I was not with Thee. I was kept from Thee by those things. Yet had they not been in Thee they would not have been at all. Thou didst call and cry to me and break open my deafness. And Thou didst send forth Thy beams which shine upon me and chase away my blindness. Thou didst breathe fragrance upon me and I drew in my breath. And do now pant for Thee: I tasted Thee and do now hunger and thirst for Thee. Thou didst touch me, and I have burned for Thy peace."

Photo taken on Australia Day.

Photo taken on Australia Day.

A panoramic view of the inner courtyard at the retreat centre.

A panoramic view of the inner courtyard at the retreat centre.