Mr. Edward Stokes
The Community of the Sacred Heart is founded on a property in Central Victoria, known in the local district for some 50 years as "Morningside". The property lies on the western side of the Dabyminga Creek Valley, halfway between Broadford and the tiny town of Strath Creek, under the shadow of Mt Hickey, in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range some 80 kilometres to the north of Melbourne. The property is in the shape of a horseshoe, with the Dabyminga creek running around three quarters of its boundary and a 150 year old rural Cemetery in the centre.
In the years since March 1988 when the founding members moved in, the property has become widely known as "Our Lady of the Ark, Morningside." largely because of the Community apostolate as a "promoter" of the Messages of Our Lady of the Ark.
The "Morningside" property had commenced its recent history in the early 1950's. Some twenty buildings, in various states of disrepair, including a number of ex army huts arranged around a square, provided dormitories, dining room, store, hall and chapel, with a further two Houses and four self-contained flats – not all habitable. Over the years the heavily treed hillside property of about 10 acres sloping down to another 15 acres of pasture, had served as a rehabilitation centre, a "covenanted" Charismatic Community - a popular venue for Retreats, finally degenerating into a sort of holiday camp used mostly by schools.
In March 1987 the property had been unsuccessfully offered at auction, and came to the founders’ attention in April of that year.
Foundation - March 1988
The foundation of the Community of the Sacred Heart had its beginnings in 1987, following Holy Mother’s call to Her children to form communities and set up "Mary’s Glens". The first St Charbel Communities were being formed in Austalia, the US and Canada , and the germ of an idea was growing in the minds of a few, to form such a community in rural Victoria. At the time, only the most rudimentary outline of the Community life and the Order of Saint Charbel was available to the founders, as Heaven had only revealed the basics to the Little Pebble, and told him he would be guided in framing the Rule. Nonetheless, when Our Blessed Mother responded to a question through the Little Pebble in October 1987, that it was her wish that the property be purchased, this was quickly arranged by the founders and the contract of sale signed on 11th Nov 1987.
Nothing seemed to go right at first; services broke down, buildings had to be made habitable. Two of the houses had served as dormitories, and had to be refitted to convert them to domestic dwellings. Roofs leaked and had to be repaired - some buildings had to be re-roofed. Several buildings also had to be re-blocked and in some instances re-stumped. The water supply was a disaster and would fail at the most inopportune moments. Nonetheless, priority was given to refurbishing the Chapel for community prayer, and the Community began each day with Pope Leo XIII 's Exorcism Prayer - a practice that has continued ever since.
Promotion of Our Lady’s Messages – a Community Apostolate
Almost as soon as the Community was established, it undertook the role of Promoter for Australia and the Pacific region . This work is an apostolate of the Community at Tyaak, and for over 12 years we have been mailing out the Messages of the Little Pebble and other Seers united with him. The availability of funds, to print and mail out the Messages, has never failed in all those years. We have always had just enough in donations to meet our costs, as sign of Heaven’s protection and guidance of the Mission of the Little Pebble.
Heaven's Plan unfolds: (1988)
The following year, the Little Pebble visited the infant Community for the first time on 23rd September with Father Broussard, and other members of the Nowra Community. Many other guests were also staying with us for the Little Pebble’s visit.
On 23rd September 1988 at 6.30 in the evening, in our little Chapel, Jesus and Mary Appeared to the Little Pebble, with a message of consolation and encouragement for the Fledgling Community, and a beautiful prophetic vision of the future that heaven was calling us to. Our Lord spoke first, opening with a beautiful Blessing :
OUR LORD:"...... My beloved children; from the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart, I give you Blessings today from My Father in Heaven, to give you encouragement to follow the path destined for your Salvation. I have brought My Holy Mother so that She may speak to you about this life and this community....." …………. ".... The road, My sweet children, to Paradise, is one marked with the sign of redemption, which is My Cross. This Symbol must be before you every moment of your lives, and especially when you walk the path of the community …."
Our Blessed Mother then spoke of the 'call' to community life in the Order of St Charbel, and of Heaven's plans for 'this land'.
OUR LADY:".... I wish to tell you sweet children, that it is the Holy Ghost who has inspired your hearts to carry forward to a life of dedication. My Divine Son and I have great plans for this land. We desire very much that it become part of .. the Order of St Charbel. The purpose, sweet children, of this work is to save souls, not only those close to you, but through the whole world, because it's through sacrifice, much prayer, and much suffering, that all of you will be purified for the coming of My Divine Son once again upon this earth. ..." ……. ‘…. I desire with My Divine Son that this place will be part of an Order that will bring Grace (and) Sanctification (to) many souls throughout the whole world, and through your participation, through much prayer and sacrifice, great fruit will be given to Holy Mother Church. ...."
Our Blessed Mother emphasised the importance of community prayer, and asked that we pray before every step we would take, plan well, and not be concerned about finances.
OUR LADY:".... Pray often, and be united in prayer. Pray much before you do anything. At every step that you take, be careful, and plan each step well with much prayer......"……."..... Be not concerned of how the finances will come. Be not concerned how all will be fulfilled; for I and My Divine Son will assist you....."
It was a time of buoyant hopes and enthusiasm. Nearly 200 followers of Our Lady of the Ark were present the following day at Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Broussard at an open air Altar in the grounds, and afterwards Our Blessed Mother appeared to the Little Pebble, and gave a special blessing to all present. At this time, we were given the opportunity to read and comment on the first Draft of the Rule and Constitutions of the Order, and to understand more fully the life we were being called to.
Building the Community - 1989
In the months that followed, sheds were completed, old fencing was restored and new fences erected to enclose separate paddocks for livestock. Vegetables were planted and an irrigation system fed from the creek installed. The water supply system was gradually upgraded and made more reliable.
In April 1989 the Little Pebble again visited Tyaak, this time accompanied by the Polish Seer Kazimerze Domanski. During Holy Mass in the main dining room before a crowd of around 200 including many people of the Polish community, Our Blessed Lord gave the Community a brief message through Domanski, which was confirmed by the Little Pebble. Our Lord specially blessed a large and beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart;
OUR LORD ".... a blessing will be given now for My servants who are present here. They will receive a great blessing from this statue. My statue of the OPEN HEART. Look My son, how My Heart is moving, and the Hand, how it is being raised up high ....."
There were some privileged souls who saw the Hand raised in blessing, others who saw the Sacred Heart palpitate, others who saw the Head move. I saw nothing myself, but I accepted on faith that others had. The Little Pebble later confirmed that the Statue had been specially blessed by Our Lord for Cures and Conversions. The Statue now resides in our Chapel, until a special shrine can be built for it.
The Community grows: 1990 - 1992
The year 1990 saw the construction of the first two new houses on the property as more families came to join the Community. There were now six houses and two flats in use.
In April 1991, we were visited by an American Seer, known as the Trumpeter, who stayed to talk to the Community for a few days. Our Blessed Mother appeared to him privately in his room early one morning and gave him a brief message for the community. The substance of that message was: Our Blessed Mother was pleased with the community.....and; .... for each day that each of us lived in the community, in trust, She obtained the Grace to save a soul from hell !!! It was a surprise to all, that merely by trying to live the Community Life, we could gain such Graces.
By the end of 1991 two more houses were completed, and extensions were made to one of the older houses and one of the self contained flats, to accommodate the growing numbers of children. There were now eight houses, two self contained flats, and by early 1992, there were ten families living in the community, some thirty four souls, including fifteen children. Community life seemed to be centred more and more on the rearing of children. The older children attended the little Strath Creek State School, some 10 kilometres away. The mothers themselves were teaching the children their Faith and their prayers, with considerable effort being put into the catechism classes. Preparing the little ones for their First Confession and First Holy Communion was given the highest priority.
The "Community of the Sacred Heart" - November 1992
In September 1992, we were granted by Heaven, the incredible privilege of having the Blessed Sacrament reserved in our little Chapel. Our Lord has been with us always since then - a very great Grace to our Community and a concrete expression of Our Blessed Mother's confidence in the Community.
In November 1992, the Little Pebble once again visited the Community, and Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared to him in our Chapel during the First Saturday Prayer, 7th November 1992, with a very comforting and very encouraging message, in which Heaven's intentions for the Community were again confirmed. It was at this time that Our Lord called us for the first time " this Community of My Sacred Heart" thereby giving us this name to treasure as our own.
OUR LORD: "....... My beloved son, My Herald of Light for Holy Mother Church, Our Little Pebble of Love, and My sweet childen here present in this Community of My Most Sacred Heart. I greet you and Bless you from My Father in Our Spirit, and through My Heart of Love. I Bless you to give you courage and strength to go forward in My Most Sacred Heart to carry the Cross that I have given you, until the time comes, when I will return to the earth. + . . . . . . My sweet children, let not this Cross burden you, but rather, let this Cross be the yoke of redemption, the yoke of peace and salvation. I know well the sorrows and burdens of your hearts. I am sure that you know Mine too, because I have asked you to share with Me, My Cross. .. . . . . . Each soul, My sweet children, has a price - a heavy price. It was through My Blood, and through My Passion and Suffering on the Cross, that the price was paid. But yet, My sweet children, it is through your sufferings and trials, that this price receives special graces of redemption for Our children. . . . . all of My Children of the light are Co-Redeemers with Me, (like) My Most Holy Mother. . . . . ."
The Little Pebble saw in vision , the Community and the Property given a special Blessing by the Holy Trinity. Then, Our Blessed Mother told us that
OUR LADY: " . . . the Triune God has many plans for you, My sweet children, in this Community - much more than you can ever realise. Very soon, I will raise a child here who will see me, for I wish that many children will come here to partake in the graces that will flow from My Immaculate Heart. I will bring up water upon this land, where many children will bathe and be healed, because it is My wish that many children turn to My Divine Son before the end comes upon this world as you know it. . . . . "
Our Blessed Mother then had some words of good counsel for the days of trial that would come - perhaps to prepare the Community for the time of conflict and division, which would soon see the departure of four families. It is worth quoting Our Blessed Mother's words to us:
OUR LADY: " . . . . My children who bear the Name of My Divine Son in their hearts: live the Word of God to the fullness of Truth. Be not harsh to each other. Love one another, My sweet children. It is through the power of love that all goodness is conceived in the world. Let not hatred, jealousy and envy rule your hearts. You must be Christ - like in all that you do. Walk with love, My sweet children; work with love, play with love, and pray with love. . . . ."
SEE FULL TEXT OF THIS MESSAGE (No. 373) OF
7 NOVEMBER 1992
Following the Public Message, Our Lady spoke for some time in private
to the Little Pebble, to give direction to the Community. The following
a few of the additional instructions the Little Pebble relayed to the Community
from Our Blessed Mother at the time:
The Future Apparition Site - Commencement of a monthly day of prayer
A sketch of the Proposed Shrine in its initial form was quickly prepared, and its location and orientation confirmed.
It was later decided that a ‘Day of Prayer' would be held at the site of the 'future' Apparition Place on the last Sunday of each Month, beginning with Sunday 27th December 1992, to petition Heaven to bring forward the promised Apparition, and to pray for the Salvation of Souls.
The Program for the Day of Prayer was to begin at 11.00 in the morning, with The Sacred Head Devotion, followed by a Procession with Our Lady's Statue to the site of the Shrine. At the Shrine the 15 Decade Rosary was to be offered, with Hymns and Litanies, continuously until 2.30 PM , when we would conclude with the Stations of the Cross Rosary. This program has been maintained on the last Sunday of each month ever since.
Our many friends and supporters were invited to participate in the work of erecting the Shrine, by making an offering towards the cost. The Shrine was subsequently built from large basalt rocks, in January - February 1993 by a landscape gardener who loved Our Lady and gave his services free.
New Beginnings: November 1994
In November 1994, The Community welcomed Thornbush - Sister Marie Danielle, Sister Astrid, (Mother Superior at L'Avenir), and Father Yves Marie Blais, , for a few days, in company with Little Pebble and Father Broussard, and others from the Community at Nowra. Their visit from 17th to 21st November was the continuation of a retreat for aspirants to the Order of Saint Charbel begun in Nowra on 10th November.
During the few days our visitors from L’Avenir stayed with us, there were a number of Messages from Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother given through both the Little Pebble and Thornbush to bring direction and encouragement to the Community and the Order.
On 17th November in the Chapel, Our Lord gave through the Little Pebble, a brief message of welcome (No 462) which is quoted here because of its startling prophetic content concerning the destiny of the Sacred Heart Community:
OUR LORD: "….I welcome you and greet you all. It is a great joy for My Sacred Heart to see my Priest-Sons and My Mystic children come together on the Grounds of My Sacred Heart. It is from here that I will Reign over many souls whom I will choose for the ‘end-times’. Many Graces will be offered to you My sweet children, in these coming days; open-up your hearts and listen to My Voice for I will speak to each and every one of you through My Spirit and through my ‘instruments’ whom I have sent here. All that I and My Most Holy Mother have promised you over these years gone by, will be fulfilled. Perseverance and prayer is what is required of Our children at this time. I promise you, My sweet children, that you will see many ‘signs’; many conversions – and wonderful Graces, sent to you by My Father to bring many children into the flock – for many Priests will be raised from this house; for I will send many shepherds out to the world from here to gather my sheep before the Hand of My Father falls upon he nations….."
The complementary nature of the Messages with those of earlier years, and the similarity of the visions was striking.
In 1992, as already mentioned, Holy Mother had promised to "raise a child who will see me" a future seer to be known as the "Seedling". It was revealed through Thornbush’s Messages, that a 5 yr old boy from a family in nearby Seymour was the promised "Seedling" . Heaven gave him the name of "Little Boy Blue". On 17th November Our Lord said through Thornbush; "… Our ‘Little Seedling’ who has been called, and who we will continue to prepare will soon be sown, and much fruit will be produced; many conversion, and much will be revealed through him……." (Message No 462) He has, in the intervening years become quite well known to the followers of Our Lady of the Ark, and has been marvellously graced with many visitations from Heaven and brief childlike messages which always point to the truth of the Little Pebble’s Mission.
Thornbush’s Message also publicly confirmed the future Spring at the Shrine, which is awaited with confidence and trust in the promises of Holy Mother. "………Saint Michael is now taking his sword out of the Cement, or the stone of which he placed it, and a beautiful water or gushing spring has come forth – I don’t know what this means, …" (Message No 459)
Thornbush later wrote down a brief description of the Vision she was given of the Community during the Apparition of 20th November:
THORNBUSH (Message 460): "….. When I was
shown the Community, I saw:
SEE FULL TEXT OF THESE MESSAGES:
17 November 1994 (Message 459) not
In April 1995, the Little Pebble and Father Broussard visited our Community again. The visit took the form of a Retreat with the talks covering the call to join "Heaven’s Chosen Communities" but more particularly, life in the Third and Fourth Branches of the Order. Once again the Community was Blessed with guidance from Heaven in the form of several Messages from Our Lord and Our Lady. Our Lord appeared with a brief Message on the evening of 21st April in our little Chapel. Our Lady spoke to us the following evening, again in the Chapel, and on Sunday 23rd April Our Lady together with Saint Charbel appeared to the Little Pebble at the Shrine, and spoke to a large crowd. Our Lord and Our Lady came with a final message on the following Saturday, 29th April.
SEE FULL TEXT OF THESE MESSAGES:
21 April 1995 (Message 473) not
The Work of Grace (1995-1996)
Because of significant changes to the Rule and Constitutions of the Order, relating mainly to life in the Third and Fourth Branches, the Moderator of the Order had announced that all would commence their respective Novitiates in January 1996, and those who had made a previous start could begin again. Preparation for the Novitiate then became the focus of Community Life.
In January 1996, some 10 members of the Sacred Heart Community commenced their Novitiate in the Third Branch, two entered the Fourth Branch, and 13 other souls from the Melbourne and Geelong areas made their promises in the Fourth Branch as external members.
The Schooling of our Children
Even the casual observer will note the large number of families with young children in the Order, a youthful vitality which will be the very life blood of God's Plan for re-evangelising the world. The need for the Order's own schools is self-evident, indeed, the spiritual formation, education and training of its children are central to the very objectives of the Order and, have precedence over other apostolic works, The Motherhouse of the Order, Gethsemane Community, in Cambewarra, NSW, led the way and had already established a Private Registered School ( St Joseph's) for Kindergarten to Grade 6, which has been operating since January 1992.
In the Sacred Heart Community, with the family growth of recent years, children now greatly outnumber the adults, reflecting a trend, which seems to be continuing. To respond effectively to this challenge, the Sacred Heart Community, set in train early in 1996, the process for establishing its own Private School. The story of our progress to date has been one of expectations, trials and many disappointments. Every step we take to follow God's Plan has been met with opposition, and the Community has become accustomed to difficulties and even major setbacks, but we try to carry on in the confident expectation that Our Holy Mother will triumph in the end over all obstacles.
Recent Times (1997-2000)
With few exceptions, the members of the Order have remained strong and constant through three very difficult years when time and again the attention of the Media has been focussed against the Little Pebble, the Order of Saint Charbel, and even our Tyaak Community, with the Church itself joining in the condemnation. In mid 1997, mischievous accusations, fed by the usual rumour and innuendo, precipitated raids on our Communities by Police and Welfare Agencies, which were followed by media hype, the like of which none of us had ever experienced. The adverse publicity at the time, repeated again more recently with the issue of the Decree against the Little Pebble and the Order, by the Bishop of Wollongong, has left its legacy, damaging our relationships with government agencies, and even seriously hindering our progress, but the Community remains committed to Heaven’s call. confident in the Promises of Our Blessed Mother . Indeed, it is a great privilege to live in these times, in these last days before the Second Coming of Our Lord, and an even greater privilege to play a small part in unity with Heaven’s Chosen instrument, the Little Pebble, in the unfolding Plan of God, for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the beginning of the age of One Flock and One Shepherd.
In the midst of these trials, as some were leaving, new members were coming to the Community to join the Order. Such was the new - found devotion and joy of the new members, that they have become a source of strength to the Order. Some have gone on to Religious life in the Order, some have remained here and others gone to other Communities.
Over the years there have been many families who have come and gone, and although the Community peaked with as many as 45 members in past years, some have left recently or are currently in the process of leaving, and today, there remain some 31 members of the Community of the Sacred Heart, 11 adults, of whom 9 are in Minor Vows, and some 20 children ranging in age from 14 years down to a few months.
We have no permanent Priest, but from time to time we have been privileged to have Priests of the Order stay with us and to minister to the Community. Over the past three years, there have been four priests from Africa, one from France who had spent 37 years as a Missionary in Cameroon, and more recently a Priest from the Philippines. At other times we are dependent on our local Parish, St Patrick’s Kilmore for Mass and the Sacraments.
Community life is not easy, but then none of us expected it would be.
If you would like to know more, about the Sacred
Heart Community, or would like to come and visit us, you may contact us
by email or through normal post mail:
SACRED HEART COMMUNITY
The Order of Saint Charbel Copyright
(c) 2000-2006 MWOA Pty. Ltd.. All Rights Reserved.