The Western Ministry for Spirituality is a Diocesan outreach ministry to the parishes and isolated communities in the West and Mid West of the Diocese. It offers opportunities for spiritual formation and development for individuals and groups.

Sr Carmel Pattinson sgs
113 Goldring Street
Richmond Q 4822
Phone / Fax: 4741 3369




Mission Statement

The people of the Western Region have opportunities for deepening and expanding their spiritual lives in order for them to live out Gospel values, minister to others and grow in awareness that their relationship with God embraces the whole of life.

Aim of Ministry

This Ministry aims to provide opportunities for spiritual development for people living in the

Western Region of the Diocese of Townsville in order for them to deepen and enrich their everyday lives.

We aim to invite others to share the experience of this Ministry.

The Western Ministry for Spirituality offers the following:

  • Retreats and Formations
  • Spiritual Formation, Prayer Leaders and Spiritual Companions
  • Pastoral Visits
  • Mary MacKillop House
  • Management of the Mary MacKillop House
  • Ongoing Liaison with parishes and wider community


We acknowledge that the Catholic Diocese of Townsville, who invited the Sisters of St Joseph to work in this Ministry, is responsible for the Western Ministry for Spirituality as a work of the Diocese.

We are also keenly aware that the original recognition of the need, and request for spiritual enrichment was articulated in 1993 by the Western people who had participated in the Diocesan Pastoral Council in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the midst of severe drought, following the departure of the Missionary Sisters of Service from Richmond and Fr Dave Lancini from the Parish, a donation was received from a Gold Coast parish for the Bishop to help Churches in the west. When asked how to help the people of the West, those present at a meeting of Western Parishes declared "We are dying spiritually - can you help us develop our spirituality?"

On behalf of the Diocese, Len Horner approached the Sisters of St Joseph to offer some form of Spiritual Development in the West and the Western Ministry for Spirituality Program began.

It was Sr Carmel Street rsj and Mrs Mary Stark rsj Partner in Mission, who responded in 1993 to the Western people's request for additional spiritual nourishment. Since that time Carmel and Mary have given themselves to the Ministry with constancy and commitment.

The original group who requested the spiritual support has continued to meet three times a year. At these meetings the members have continued to support and review the Western Ministry.

For the most part, people have heard about the Ministry through word of mouth, the Diocesan Catholic News or as a result of fund raising efforts.

Requests for Prayer and Spiritual Direction times have come from people keen to avail themselves of the opportunities as individuals, couples and families.

Sr Carmel has accepted invitations from Western people to visit them on their properties or to meet them at agreed places for Prayer and Spiritual Direction. At times one person has invited several other people to gather at his/her property for Group Prayer / Retreat days.

During the past nine (9) years, Retreats have been conducted at Cloncurry, Mt Isa and Charters Towers.

People have been trained as Prayer Leaders and Spiritual Companions, with appropriate supervision and support.

Meetings have provided opportunities for Faith Education, planning, review, information exchange and personal development. At the moment there are seven (7) people in training as Spiritual Companions. The course they are covering has been accredited by the Centre for Religious Development (Aust.). This group will graduate in October 2006.

The people of the West have expressed a desire to develop a Centre for Spirituality. At the recommendation of Fr Bill Busuttin, the parish priest of Richmond at the time, it was agreed to make available to the Diocese the former St Joseph's Convent, to be converted as a Centre for Spirituality. The Diocese through the Western Ministry for Spirituality has taken responsibility for the refurbishment of the building. Successful grant applications have enabled the refurbishment program to commence with the whole-hearted support of the members of the Richmond Parish and the neighbouring communities.

The Centre for Spirituality will offer opportunities for prayer, retreats and spiritual direction as well as a gathering place for community groups and services.

Mary MacKillop House - A Western Centre for Spirituality

Originally the House was built as a Convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph who conducted a primary school in Richmond from 1915 until 1970. Since then it has been used by the Missionary Sisters of Service and as a Priest's Residence.

In 2002 at a gathering from the western parishes a suggestion was made that the old Convent be turned into a House for spiritual enrichment. With the blessing of Bishop Michael Putney and under the guidance and responsibility of the Western Ministry for Spirituality, who obtained grants for the restoration much effort has gone into renovating the house. The Western Ministry, under the direction of Sr. Carmel Street rsj and Mrs. Mary Stark, Partner in Mission has worked in the Western area for 15 years providing spiritual nourishment.

The House will become a resource for all Western Parishes and for people of all faiths.

What is offered at Mary MacKillop House?

  • A quiet place
  • A cup of tea and a chat
  • Somewhere to pray alone or with others
  • Read quietly
  • Join in Group discussions
  • Learn to meditate and relax
  • Attend specific workshops on prayer on prayer and life-giving topics etc.
  • A promise to listen to your needs and ideas
  • Involvement as a volunteer
  • Opportunities for Spiritual Companioning
  • Retreat days/times 
  • A place where spiritual and personal enrichment workshops may be offered
  • A strengthening of the ecumenical community
  • Confidentiality regarding any personal sharing