On 12 May 2019, the Archdiocese of Sydney opened a House of Discernment for young men in a vacant property formerly used as a Monastery by the Marist Brothers. Sumner House has a house chapel, common kitchen, living and dining rooms, offices, and 10 individual bedrooms. The Property is located on the grounds of Saint Joachim Parish in Lidcombe.
Looking to create a vocational culture in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and his then Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Randazzo founded Sumner House. The house was named after the first priest to be ordained in Australia, Father Bede Sumner. By a happy coincidence, Sumner House was officially blessed and opened on the anniversary of Father Sumner’s ordination.
Sumner House was founded to provide an environment for young men to grow in their baptismal calling and discern their particular vocation as disciples of Jesus Christ. By living in community for 12 months, the residents of Sumner House commit to a rigorous schedule of prayer, formation, apostolic and cultural works, and household duties. These commitments are held in tandem with the work or study demands of the men at the house.
At Sumner House, young men experience life within a Christian Community. The shared values, goals, and faith of the House serve as a source of unity as the residents navigate an important stage in their life of discernment. It can be difficult for contemporary young men to grow in a sense of discipline and responsibility while living at home. Young men also often experience isolation and a lack of fraternal encouragement. Under the guidance of the House Chaplain, Fr. Daniele Russo, the house program helps the residents to develop their individual spirituality within a context of brotherhood and encouragement. They are also moved to embrace Christian stewardship and responsibility, strengthen personal discipline and develop a healthy life balance. All of these facets of life at Sumner House serve the residents in their vocational journey.
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