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The newly renovated Weikert Cottage featured on a recent 7NEWS Adelaide bulletin, which hailed the restoration project.

 SHOWING THE WAY TO GOD 

By David McMahon, Communications Manager, Society of Jesus in Australia

Late last month, 7News aired a report featuring the newly restored Weikert Cottage at Sevenhill in South Australia’s Clare Valley, site of the first Jesuit presence in Australia in 1848. Severely damaged by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, the cottage was given a new lease of life when a major project started taking shape before the coronavirus pandemic.

This entailed partially reconstructing the cottage, enclosing it under a new roof and adding storyboards to outline its history. The rebuilding was completed in early 2020 and the post-Covid blessing of the updated cottage by Australian Jesuit Provincial Fr Quyen Vu SJ took place on Sunday 19 March this year.

As the 7News report says: “A key part of the Clare Valley’s history has come to life with the restoration of an old ruin harking back to the earliest days of Jesuit winemaking. Sevenhill has preserved the historic cottage as part of an interpretive trail celebrating one of the state’s oldest vineyards.”

Back in March, when Fr Quyen blessed the cottage, he brought a memorable insight into the theme of journeys. “We are all pilgrims on a journey,” he said. “The first Jesuits as well as the Weikert family came here as pilgrims. I came from Vietnam and came out to Australia as a refugee.

“On any journey, whether it is physical or spiritual, we need to look back over our shoulder  – or check the relevant app on our mobile devices! – to discern our own starting point. Why do we do that? The answer is simple. We do it in order to gauge not just how far we’ve come but also to take into account the obstacles that have been conquered along the way. When we take the time to create that perspective, we then truly appreciate how much has been achieved in the 175 years since the first Jesuits arrived in South Australia.”

Read more about Sevenhill and the restoration of Weikert Cottage.

Click image above to watch the 7 News Adelaide report on Facebook.

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