Skaneateles retreat center to close - Catholic Courier

Skaneateles retreat center to close

Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center in Skaneateles closed its doors for good on Jan. 26.

The Syracuse-based Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, which has owned the retreat center’s property on Skaneateles Lake since 1952, recently decided to close the center for financial reasons, according to a statement the congregation’s leadership team posted on the retreat center’s website.

"The decision to close Stella Maris after 60 years came after much deliberation and prayer. While we considered a number of options, it became clear that it was unlikely that Stella Maris would be a self-sustaining ministry. We hope that you understand the situation," the leadership team wrote.

The retreat center is housed in a mansion that was built in 1879 as the summer home of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s cousins. After the Franciscan sisters bought the home in 1952 and renovated it, they opened it in 1954 as a retreat house for Catholic women. Over the past six decades Stella Maris has expanded its audience to include Catholic men as well as men and women of other denominations, and the facility served as a conference center for groups, including parishes from the Diocese of Rochester’s Finger Lakes region, which wanted a peaceful place to hold meetings, retreats and other gatherings.

"The sisters, along with the staff at Stella Maris, extend our sincerest gratitude to all who have supported us over the six decades of operation," the congregation’s leadership team wrote in the statement on the Stella Maris website. "We are proud to have played a role in strengthening the spiritual connection between God and hundreds of visitors and we continue to hold you all in our prayers."

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