What is Cursillo?
Cursillo is a movement from the Church that focuses on helping each person to discover themselves, their relationship with Christ and with others.
● Cursillo has a method that shows how the Gospel can be lived in everyday life.
● Cursillo provides a means of support to enable Christianity to be lived.
● Cursillo has proved to be a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to get to know self, God and others.
Many millions of people around the world have experienced Cursillo.
More about the Australian Cursillo Movement
Our story begins following the first Cursillo held in the United States in 1957, when the talks and literature were translated from the Spanish into English by the Americans. This led to the rapid introduction of the Movement throughout the English speaking world, into Asia and the Pacific region including Australia.
Cursillo was first reported amongst the Spanish community in New South Wales. Some Spanish speaking migrants had been involved in the Cursillo Movement before migrating to Australia. They conducting several Spanish-speaking Cursillo weekends for men in 1963 and 1964.
By 1965, the Movement was well established in Leichhardt (Sydney) which was the Centre of Ultreyas, Group Reunions and the Spanish Leader’s School. Spanish speaking men were essential participants in helping to begin the English speaking Movement in Australia.
At considerable sacrifice to themselves, they provided leadership and support as well as supplying part of the Team for the first English speaking Cursillo. This was held in Armidale NSW on the weekend, 30th July - 2nd August 1965.
It was through the leadership of the United States Cursillo Movement that a small team from USA came to Australia and in conjunction with Cursillistas in Australia, made the first all English Speaking 3 day weekend a reality.
An American was appointed to Armidale University as a lecturer in geography. Both he and his wife were keen Cursillistas and so once they had settled into their new house they began making inquiries as to whether there were any Cursillistas living in New South Wales.
Eventually they made contact with a Capuchin Priest who at that time was working in the Leichhardt Parish. From their first meeting came plans to commence the English speaking Cursillo Movement in New South Wales. Permission was sought from the Bishop of Armidale and once granted left only the problem of finding a team.
He invited two Cursillista friends from Kalamazoo (Michigan) and both readily agreed to come and at their own expense. A Cursillo priest also agreed to come and his friends in the Movement took up a collection to pay for his journey. The response was very generous to the extent that a Cursillista handed him a blank cheque with the instruction to "fill it out to whatever you need".
Here then was part of the team but more were needed. Four Spanish Cursillistas who could speak English best agreed to go on team. Two men came from Melbourne and one from Tasmania, truly a cosmopolitan team. Together with a Spiritual Director they held the first English speaking Men's Cursillo in Armidale in July, 1965 and the first Women's was held in December 1965. This Women's Cursillo was somewhat unusual in that it had an all male team.