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Shalom was called into life in response to a prayerful insight received in October 1974 by Neville Bowers who, with his wife Helen, was co-founder. “Go to Carcoar, re-open the old convent, and make it a place where people can come and establish or renew their relationship with God”.

Discernment revealed the lived out vision of the House of Prayer: The “old convent” was Mount St. Joseph, later known as St. Mary’s Academy, built in 1874 and staffed by the Sisters of Mercy – providing ongoing education until its closure in 1969.

On 18 January 1975, Neville, Helen and their two youngest children moved into the old Convent and set about renovating it, assisted by friends, parishioners and working groups from nearby parishes. They established Shalom, the Diocesan House of Prayer, under the authority of the Bishop of Bathurst. For many years, people came to discover the charisms of peace, acceptance, hospitality and the felt presence of the God of love. This was made possible by a number of dedicated people who answered the call to live out the vision of Shalom in Community.

With the passage of years, the Community became smaller in number, the buildings grew old and the time came to discern the best way ahead. In 2011, Bishop Michael McKenna commissioned a survey of the condition of the buildings and appointed a working party to make recommendations on future needs and what resources might be available to meet them and some necessary renovations were undertaken.

Shalom House of Prayer is now a living and growing community. Renovations continue, thanks to the generous efforts of friends (Friends of Shalom), as the Community endeavours to provide a welcoming space for all who go there.

Find out more about Shalom at