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Green thumbs digging in to maintain tranquil garden


On the third Monday of every month, rain, hail or shine, you will be sure to find a group of six dedicated volunteers attending to the St Mary’s Memorial Garden at Our Lady of Victories Church in Glenelg.

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The garden is located between the church and the parish house and incorporates a columbarium consisting of two sandstone walls for the immurement of ashes, while ashes are also buried in the grounds of the garden.

St Mary’s Memorial Garden and the columbarium came to fruition through the foresight of Deacon Patrick Edwards and were overseen by Father Anthony Kain before officially opened on December 8 2013.

It was then that the parish called for volunteers to step forward to help with the upkeep of the area.

Trish and Peter Felici, who have been a part of the Glenelg parish for 12 years, answered the original call and have been involved ever since.

“We all do it because we enjoy it,” Trish said.

“We enjoy the fresh air and the camaraderie; the six of us get on exceptionally well and enjoy what we do.

“We try and maintain the garden so it remains a tranquil area for people to come and reflect.

“We have a lot of parishioners who have family members in the columbarium so you sometimes see people sitting in there quietly after Mass. It is a nice quiet place.”

Trish and Peter are joined by fellow volunteers David Roach, Alice Fernandez, Peter O’Malley and Phil Murdoch each month with the group doing about three hours of work each session.

Members also tends to the garden between their monthly sessions if they see anything that needs work.

Trish said the team tend to the columbarium, plants and shrubs as if they were their own and some of them even spend more time in this garden than their own.

She added the group had changed over the past five and a half years since the memorial garden opened with a number of volunteers having to retire over time.

But the group seems to be stable at the moment with Alice, the newest member, having been there for six months.

She moved to Adelaide from Perth last year and attends Mass at Our Lady of Grace in Glengowrie.

Having recently developed a bit of a green thumb she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with the upkeep of the garden.

“It (the garden and columbarium) is so nice. It is one of the most beautiful columbariums I have come across,” Alice said.

The Glenelg parish is celebrating 150 years in 2019. To mark the occasion they are holding a number of events throughout the year. On Sunday August 11, following 10.30am Mass, the parish will hold a Blessing of St Mary MacKillop Chapel Artworks and lunch in St Mary’s Hall at midday. The event will recognise the beginning of Catholic education by St Mary MacKillop and the influence of the Sisters of St Joseph.


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