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The Retreat Team ...


Each retreat is supported by a retreat team of dedicated spiritual directors who listen to and enable individuals to respond to the Spirit of God in their heart. Ongoing Spiritual Direction is offered by our directors. Please contact your director of choice personally to make an appointment.


Ms. Michelle Vass (Director)
Fr. Stephen Dives msc, stm
Fr. Terry Naughton msc (Emeritus)
Sr. Pauline Compton fdnsc
Fr. Michael Fallon msc
Fr. Dominic Gleeson msc


ms. Michelle Vass

Ms Michelle Vass, Director, St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre

“Silence is praise for You – silentium tibi laus” (St Jerome’s translation of the Hebrew Psalm 65:1).

I consider it a special blessing to work with the retreat team here at St Mary’s Towers, building on the wonderful tradition of profound silence, and serving the needs of those who come here seeking solace, peace and the love of our compassionate God.

I believe passionately that there is a need to recover and allow to emerge, new creative ways of contemplative living based on the richness of our Christian heritage. In a special way it is through the Spirituality of the Heart that we keep in touch with the living, loving power of God, and find the freedom to do this. Our Centre, named after Mary our mother and sister in faith, is a ministry of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Mary’s example of pondering and beholding the presence of Jesus in her heart remains an inspiration for us today as to how to let Christ be a loving presence in our hearts, for our world.

In 2002, I completed a Master of Arts (Theology) at the Australian Catholic University Canberra. Subsequently in 2008, I undertook further studies in Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry (specifically the practice of Spiritual Accompaniment). I look forward to continuing to share in this special work of accompanying others on their spiritual journey.                   to menu  


Sr. Pauline Compton fdnsc

My life-long association with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart began with growing up in Randwick, the first MSC parish in Australia. After joining the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, my early ministry was in the field of education. Following this I have been involved in the sacred ministry of spiritual direction and Leadership in my Congregation. During 2014 I had the opportunity to experience and study the Ignatian Exercises at St. Beuno’s Spirituality Centre, Wales, in preparation for re-joining the team at St. Mary’s Towers. I feel very privileged to accompany others in their spiritual journey at St Mary's Towers and to be in ministry with my brother Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.                                to menu


Fr. Stephen Dives msc, stm

Fr. Stephen Dives msc, stm Community Leader.

I think our MSC spirituality, a spirituality of the heart is a great treasure we have been left by our Founder Jules Chevalier. It is wonderful to be able to share this with so many people who come to this special place with a longing and a thirsting for a deeper relationship with our loving God. Heart spirituality can be transforming and life changing when people come to know and understand that our God is a loving God, full of kindness and compassion, who yearns for intimacy with us infinitely more than we yearn for it.                               to menu


Fr. Michael Fallon msc

I made my final profession as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1961. Saint Mary’s Towers is the spiritual heart of our MSC mission, and this is the fourth time that I have been graced to live here: first as a secondary school student and novice, then as a teacher, and then, when it ceased to be a school and was set up as a Retreat Centre, as a leader of the community in the early ‘80s. I have been involved in educational roles for the most part and I have published commentaries on Sacred Scripture. In 2014 I was asked to join the retreat team here at Saint Mary’s Towers. It is a privilege to accompany those who come to this beautiful spiritual home for days of retreat.                                 to menu


fr. Dominic Gleeson msc

Dominic continues in 2015 with the St. Mary’s Tower’s retreat team and he comes to us from ministries in MSC parishes around Australia and some time on the MSC Leadership Team.

Dominic completed some further studies in 2010 and in 2011 graduated in the Siloam program for spiritual directors offered at Heart of Life in Melbourne.

Dominic is also engaged in retreat ministry and spiritual direction for young men in their beginning years of seminary life and with on-going formation.                            to menu



I was ordained in Toowoomba in 1966.

My first posting was to Daramalan College in Canberra in 1962 which was the opening year of the College. After ordination I returned as Assistant Principal to the Junior School. I was heavily involved in parent groups; father/son camps; twilight retreats for parents and retreats for religious.

After discernment it was decided that in 1979, I would do a year’s study at the Institute of Spirituality in Berkeley, California.

I then went to Chevalier College Bowral, NSW in 1980, where I was again assistant principal for the junior school for 18 months.

I was appointed to the formation of MSC pre-novices and novices until 1985. In the early stages of this time I did Siloam under Brian Gallagher MSC and Sue Richardson in Melbourne. I went to Guelph in Canada and did the Exercises of Ignatius and the subsequent workshop for directors. During this time, I did the course on Contemplative Spiritual Direction by Bill Connelly SJ and Madeline Burmingham.

In 1997, I wheeled my books across the lawn to the Retreat House where I have delighted in working with committed people ever since.

In 2005 during my sabbatical, I travelled to Chicago where I was able to work with Peter Campbell MSC (founder of the Life’s Healing Journey Retreat) and then in Portland Oregon with Armand Nigro SJ who had a big impact on the post Vatican II Australian church. I was also able to do a course on the Spirituality of Diocesan priests with George Ashenbrenner SJ at Creighton University, Omaha Nebraska.

I am very happy to finish my ministerial life here at Douglas Park unless the Holy Spirit nudges me further!                           to menu


Retreat house staff ...

Ms. Sue Clark


It is a pleasure to work in a deeply spiritual place. I hope to bring administration skills gained through many office environments since 1981 and my 10 years of co-ordination skills acquired in the catechist ministry of my parish. I really enjoy making sure that our retreatants feel welcome and at home.                           to menu