With its bright green walls and yellow sunflowers, the Wolf Den in Norwood is proving a real talking point not only for nearby residents eager to learn more about it, but also young Catholics committed to their faith formation.
Located opposite St Ignatius’ Church on William Street, the den is home to the Wolves in Action group formed last year.
Coordinator and mastermind George Hamra said after nearly 12 months in the planning with Fr Alan Wong SJ, the group was established in March 2020. Despite COVID interruptions, several social events and retreats went ahead and many more are scheduled for this year.
“The group was formed on the basis of spiritual formation and developing young leaders of the communities in which we reside, with direct links to Catholic and more specifically Ignatian traditions,” George explained.
“Currently we have about 30 active members who are committed to making genuine connections with the wider community and gaining a deeper sense of spirituality in the process.”
He added that over the next few weeks some members will be trained so they are able to run reflection days in local Catholic schools.
Open to young people who have finished their secondary schooling, a majority of the Wolves are university students aged 18 to 25 years.
The group meets once a month at the den headquarters which offers the perfect space to “socialise, study and discuss plans for the future”.
The mural on the outside of the den was designed by artist Olivia Bradley who wanted something “colourful and eye catching”.
“It seemed fitting that a group of passionate young adults should have a meeting place so vibrant,” she said.
George said painting the design proved a great hands-on project for many members of the group.
“We spent three days at the beginning of the year painting the walls which created plenty of interest in the local community. Some neighbours even helped with the painting!” he said.
“It’s great that we will now have a place where we can gather and call our own.”
And the catchy name for the group? According to George, rather than adopt the title of ‘youth group’, members decided to foster the name Wolves in Action, which is based on the family crest of St Ignatius of Loyola.
After Fr Alan’s departure to his new ministry in China, Fr Eka Tanaya SJ, who recently joined the Jesuit Community and Parish at Norwood, has taken over as chaplain.
Main Image: Outside the Wolf Den, (L-R), Damien Tudini, Ariella Napoli, Krystina Vlachoulis, Sofia Polisena, Daniel Belperio, Montana Spackman, and back, Fr Eka Tanaya and George Hamra.
This article was originally published in The Southern Cross