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Staff and students at JPII House in Carlton (Melbourne Catholic)

Since JPII House opened in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Carlton in July 2022, it has become a real “home away from home” for university students. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

Built around three pillars — communion, formation and mission — JP II House is a place where students can experience spiritual growth, engage in rich discussions about faith and life, and form new friendships.

House staff member Mahir Murad said the aim of the house was to “build a culture where students are able to be themselves, authentic in their faith, and to excel in their studies”. Originally the house had only one study room, but due to popular demand, a second has been added.

With daily Mass offered on the premises, a lounge room, study rooms, the Caroline Chisholm library, a chapel, regular small groups and social gatherings, and a free Thursday lunch offered by the staff, JPII House is a vibrant hub of student life. 

Mr Murad said there are usually between 20 and 30 students there at any one time.

It’s not only Catholic students who make use of this house, however. People of wildly different faith backgrounds, or none at all, have found a place of welcome and friendship a JPII House. “No day is the same at JPII,” Mr Murad said “Many students come from different cultures and religious backgrounds.” Everyone finds a welcome there.”

Sr Mary Helen OP, another staff member, says this spirit of welcome of one of the most distinguishing features of the house.

“Having worked in other Australian university chaplaincies since 2013, I can say that there is something very unique about JPII House,” Sr Mary Helen says. ‘It has to do with the fact that it is indeed a house. The welcome each person receives as they walk in the door is profound. It is one thing to know that you are welcome, but it is a powerful thing to tangibly experience the truth of that welcome from both staff and students at JPII House.”


A home away from home: the flourishing of Melbourne’s JPII House (Melbourne Catholic)