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Nurturing faith in serene surrounds


As new housing developments edge closer, the faithful at Mount Barker are grateful to continue to nurture their spirituality in a peaceful garden setting on the outskirts of town.  

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Our Lady’s Rosary Garden has been welcoming people of all denominations for more than 30 years and on October 2 supporters will commemorate the significant anniversary with a special lunch and Mass.

For many Catholics in the region the garden provides a special haven, where they can sit and honour Our Lady in a space that has been designed with the Rosary as its focus.

More than 120 roses are planted in the form of a set of Rosary beads, with each bush representing a Hail Mary with the Our Father represented by a Blue Moon. White roses represent the joyful mysteries, the red represent the sorrowful, and the gold the glorious mysteries. There is also a triangular garden for the luminous mysteries.

Other plantings have been chosen for their historical connection to the Bible and the garden also features the Stations of the Cross and a meditation labyrinth.

Set on the two and a half acre estate formerly known as the Old Mount Barker Homestead, the land and existing buildings were offered to the local community by parishioner Fay Cooke and her family in the early 1990s.

Over the years the spiritual centre has been developed to include an Op Shop and tea rooms, which are run by volunteers and open to the public seven days a week.

Mass is celebrated by priests from the Ordinariate in the Divine Mercy Chapel on Saturdays and Mondays, filling the void when no services are held in Our Lady of Mercy Church in Mount Barker.

The Ordinariate was established in 2009 after Pope Benedict published a document which allowed groups of Anglican laity and their priests to enter the Catholic Church.

Ordinariate priest Fr Neville Connell, who is based in Murray Bridge, said worshippers from diverse cultural backgrounds regularly attended Mass at the chapel, which included some elements of the Anglican heritage. He said all enjoyed the sense of community that was further fostered with a cuppa and chat in the tea rooms afterwards.

“There is a good sense of welcome here,” he said. “It is very homely in the sense of the word that it is not flash, not all shiny.

“We are Catholic and universal. We honour Our Lady and encourage the use of the Rosary.”

Mt Barker-based Ordinariate priest Fr Ian Wilson added that the Rosary garden was the perfect place to spend some time when the weather is good, and expected its popularity would increase as housing developments start to surround the property.

“I’m sure it will bring more people to the centre as nearby homeowners who have a small backyard look to find a welcoming open space,” he said.

“Here they can relax, reflect and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.”

The 30th anniversary lunch will be at 1.30pm on October 2. For more information and bookings contact Rosemary Mackenzie on 0422 651 104 or Nan Wilson on 0488 270 852. Our Lady’s tea room and chapel is located on the corner of Fidler Lane and Wellington Road, Mount Barker and is open daily 10am to 4pm.



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