News & Views at Mariandale

Robert Krebs Hired as Director of Development

The Dominican Sisters of Hope are delighted to announce that Robert (Bob) Krebs has joined our staff as the new Director of Development. His role includes assisting the Leadership Team in obtaining resources to support our sisters in the living of their vocation in mission at every stage of life, and to create and implement fundraising strategies for the Center at Mariandale as it works towards fiscal sustainability.

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St. Catherine of Siena Environmental Summit 2023

Sister Ilia Delio, OSF, gave an inspiring keynote address at the St. Catherine of Siena Environmental Summit, in the chapel at Mariandale. Her topic was was “Healing, Wholeness and the Power of Love: Why Teilhard’s Vision Matters.” Several retreat centers participated in sponsoring this event, which was delivered both on-site and via Zoom from 10 to 12 noon, and on site from 12 to 2, including a luncheon.
I think what’s really important for me about listening to her is she gets into …hard realities like global warming….and complicated issues but at the center of it is always hope. She does not believe that we’re doomed. She feels we still have the time and the opportunity to keep making choice that will change things. And that’s her really important message for me.” Jmel Wilson, attendee

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Triduum 2023

Fr. Francis Gargani led another beautiful Triduum retreat celebration at Mariandale, starting Holy Thursday, April 6, with dancers, musicians, and homilists.  The retreat closed on Easter Sunday morning, April 9, with a celebratory breakfast for all. 
Fr. Gargani will be honored by Mariandale this year at the October 15 Hope Harvest Festival, a benefit for Mariandale. Sponsorships are available! Read more, here.

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Iconography Painting Retreat March 2023

Fr. Peter Pearson leads another popular Iconography Painting retreat at Mariandale in March 2023.

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Celebrating Pope Francis' 10th Anniversary

Keynote speakers Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid and Fr. James Martin joined us with a large audience at Mariandale for a celebration of the Pope’s 10th Anniversary on March 31, 2023.

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Alternative College Spring Break Weeks at Mariandale

During Alternative College Break weeks, we welcomed the College of Holy Cross, St. Joseph’s College, Misericordia University and St. Anselm’s to Mariandale.

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Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ, at Mariandale

Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, spoke at the Chapel at Mariandale on Wednesday, September 14. Sr. Norma shared stories of her inspiration to help save (and improve) the lives of refugees and of her actual experiences at the U.S. – Mexican border and elsewhere. Sr. Norma has been supported more than 100,000 migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. along Texas’ border with Mexico with emergency food, shelter, housing assistance, clinical counseling and pregnancy care. She has been personally recognized by Pope Francis and is a recipient of the University of Notre Dame’s prestigious Laetare Medal. In 2020, Sr. Norma was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Watch Sr. Norma’s presentation at Mariandale on this Zoom recording:

Hope Community Volunteers Move In!

Welcome Week for the Hope Community Volunteers, the young adults who will be in residence at Mariandale for a year. They visited some local sites in Westchester and NYC where they will spend time volunteering, accompanied by Carl Procario-Foley, Executive Director at Mariandale; Leeanna Varga, Executive Director for Mission for the Dominican Sisters of Hope; and Connie Koch, OP, a Dominican Sister of Hope and Program Specialist at Mariandale.
The volunteers are Rebecka Ibarra, Isabella Light, Ryan Murphy, and Victoria Wiafe. We are thrilled to welcome them to Mariandale and the community! Watch a video of their exciting first week at Mariandale!

Mariandale featured in Archways magazine

The Center at Mariandale featured in an Archways magazine article about Hudson Valley and other NY retreat centers!

Article starts on page 18. Enjoy!

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No Mow May at Mariandale and elsewhere

The Center at Mariandale and Sisters Lorelle and Barbara from the Guzman community celebrate No Mow May 

“A research study based on lawns in Wisconsin showed “No Mow” lawns had fivefold higher bee abundance and three times the diversity of bees than lawns mowed during the month of May, according to Regina Blakeslee, a master gardener who brought the initiative to Mariandale. Bees vital to the global ecosystem and necessary for food production have been declining in number as a result of pesticide use and habitat loss. Spring is when many come out of hibernation, making May an important month for their feeding. Blakeslee introduced No Mow May to Dominican Sisters of Hope and Mariandale staff early in the month, presenting it as a way to “live Laudato Si’.”

~ From an article by the Leeanna Varga, Executive Director for Mission Promotion for the Dominican Sisters of Hope 

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St. Catherine of Siena Environmental Summit

The Center at Mariandale held the St. Catherine of Siena Environmental Summit on Sunday, April 24. College and university students and other leaders attended this event, which focused on education and advocacy. Dr. Erin Lothes Biviano, theologian at St. Elizabeth University and consultant to the global Laudato Si action plan, was the keynote speaker. Thanks to all who shared in this exciting new event! Photos courtesy of Sr. Connie Koch.

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Earth Day Festival 2022 with Green Ossining

Green Ossining held an Earth Day Festival at Louis Engel Park on the Ossining riverfront on Saturday, April 23, and Mariandale staff were there to represent the Dominican Sisters of Hope and the Center at Mariandale. Green businesses and nonprofits lined the park with booths, offering information on health, energy-efficient homes, composting, recycling, cooking, housing, and more. It was a beautiful day to be out and about in the community, and we met many new and old friends there. It offered a glimpse of what concerned people can do when they come together toward the common goal of reducing our footprint on the Earth. It was a very hopeful day. Photos courtesy of Mariandale staff.

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Triduum at Mariandale 2022: Holy Saturday Vigil

It was a memorable Triduum retreat at Mariandale, as friends gathered at the center for a partially silent retreat weekend. On Holy Saturday, Fr. Francis Gargani led the evening liturgy with dancers, musicians, and homilists. Retreatants and guests carried lit candles and bells to herald the coming of Christ; a light into the darkness. Photos courtesy of Janet Morra and Mariandale staff.

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Mt. Aloysius College Alternative Break at Mariandale: March 2022

Mt. Aloysius held an alternative College Break from March 15-19, 2022, at the Center at Mariandale. About 20 students stayed at Mariandale for a long weekend, and enjoyed time in discussion and also out of doors.  Our Alternative Breaks provide time for spiritual discussion and contemplation, as well as group activities.

Married Couples Date Night

Sr. Connie Koch, OP led a successful Married Couples Date Night Retreat at Mariandale on Saturday, March 26. We met many new friends there, and the guests enjoyed a reception, dinner and discussion.

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Holiday Trees at Mariandale

The indoor holiday trees at Mariandale helped us feel the spirit of the season this Christmas week, as we held a lovely, meaningful Winter Solstice celebration and welcomed the women of Life Experience Faith Sharing Association (LEFSA) at Mariandale. The Giving Tree, just opposite the elevator on the Ground Floor, is decorated with gifts of warmth and kindness from our staff and sisters for those in need this winter. The tree outside of the Chapel wears ornaments that celebrate the birth of Christ. We wish all of our friends, staff, sisters, volunteers, and community a joyful Christmas and a peaceful and healthy new year. Photo credit: Program Assistant Meghan Pistorino.

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The Women of LEFSA at Mariandale

The women of LEFSA (Life Experience Faith Sharing Association) came to visit Mariandale for three days this Christmas week, sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Hope and the Sisters of Charity. They enjoyed a lot of outdoor time with Sr. Bette Ann Jaster, and learned more about nature’s interactions. We celebrated a birthday with a cake and song. On their last day, the women from LEFSA thanked Administration, Food Services (Chef Anthony) and Housekeeping for taking such good care of them while they were here. Katherine D’Amore, the Hosted Event Coordinator, made some beautiful Christmas ornaments from Mariandale pinecones that we shared as gifts with our guests.

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Celebrating Gardeners and Others!

Volunteer gardeners, quilters, new employees, and three of our sisters who are relocating joined us for a special lunch to celebrate the volunteer spirit and others who are coming and going at Mariandale! Volunteer gardeners worked so hard this summer, on some very hot days, to keep our gardens vibrant and producing thousands of pounds of food for Fred’s Pantry in Peekskill by late summer. We are so grateful to Sr. Bette Ann Jaster, Sr. Lorelle Elcock, Regina Blakeslee,  Susan Broat, Janet Morra, Lois Fermann, Hazel Man, Mary Ann Hefele, Jack Doyle, and more. Quilting leader Sr. Donna Brunell and volunteers Marilyn Cambigianis and Carole Burton also gave us a peek at a Welcome Quilt for a refugee who is coming to stay with us! The harvest lunch we shared was perfect. Thank you, one and all. You are what makes Mariandale such a special place.

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The Autumnal Equinox Harvest Walk at Mariandale, 2021

We held the annual Autumnal Equinox Harvest Walk on September 21, the eve of the first day of autumn, and it was a lovely, peaceful evening. People and monarch butterflies alike enjoyed time on the land at Mariandale, including a Labyrinth Walk, a visit to the gardens, and a walk to view the sunset. Sisters Nancy Erts and Bette Ann Jaster led the prayer and walks. It was a beautiful end to summer, and welcome to a new season, as we appreciated the beauty and diversity of the natural world.

Dominican Sisters of Hope hire Executive Director for Mariandale

The Dominican Sisters of Hope have hired a new Executive Director for The Center at Mariandale, who will start in September 2021.  Carl Procario-Foley, PhD, has accepted the position of Executive Director for the Center at Mariandale. Carl comes to us from Iona College, where he has served in higher education for 30 years. Having loved this work, he is seeking new challenges and is looking forward to working with others to grow the Center at Mariandale into a sustainable future.
Through his leadership of the office of Mission and Ministry, 1100 students engage in annually in-service learning, and the school community embraces a variety of justice concerns, including Human Trafficking, Universal Health Care, Hunger, Immigration, Sustainability, Racism and Privilege, clearly aligning with the core values of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. Carl’s networking with over 50 social service agencies in the metropolitan New York area, and his many years of service on a variety of Community and Church boards will be of assistance in exploring partnerships and assessment of community needs. Having integrated and shared the mission of the Christian Brothers, founders of Iona College, Carl demonstrates an understanding of religious life, charism, and legacy. He clearly understands the paradigm shift of our time, actively seeking communion with all creation, and presents a vision of engagement of people of all generations in the care for our Common Home and the understanding of Earth Citizenship.
Carl will begin his position in September, 2021, and looks forward to collaborating with the many stake-holders of our Center at Mariandale.

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Hope Community Garden, June 2021

TMC Garden Newsletter June 2021

Read about our Hope Community Garden in the June edition of The Garden Newsletter!

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Crafters and Quilters Retreat, Summer 2021

In July 2021, the Crafters & Quilters Summer retreatants stayed at Mariandale. We were so happy to see them reunited, as they usually meet four times a year for their creative, inspiring retreats. Seeing their group work together on their quilt and craft projects was a joy. Sister Nancy Erts and Sister Donna Brunell led the retreat as prayer leader and quilting instructor. We can’t wait to see them again in the fall.

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Fresh-cut flowers from the Hope Community Garden

Fresh garden flowers from the Hope Community Garden at Mariandale, en route to our guest rooms in the retreat center to make the summer retreatants feel welcome.

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Re-Opening Weekend June 2021!

Such a perfect weekend for the Center at Mariandale’s re-opening with a weekend writing retreat, The Light of Inspiration. This was a lovely gathering offering writing support, new friendships, inspiration, and camaraderie.  It sure was hot, but the pool was open!  Everyone loved walking the land at Mariandale, finding inspiration and cool, shady spots. We’re so grateful to Magie Dominic for offering this writing opportunity to our retreatants, and to our Mariandale staff for gearing up for a successful, hospitable opening weekend.
Now it’s your turn. Take a look at our upcoming programs, and come to Mariandale. You can also come to stay as a private retreatant for a few days of contemplation and rest. Visit for programs and more information.

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From Gardens to Food Pantries

Our gardens have grown so quickly!  It seems the garden volunteers were just cleaning up and planting seeds, and now the first green yields are being clipped and brought to Fred’s Food Pantry in Peekskill. We’re grateful to our garden volunteers, Janet Morra and Susan B, who have worked hard in this heat to prepare the gardens and a successful compost bin and a share their knowledge with the curious who visit our gardens. Sr. Bette Ann Jaster, OP, a Dominican Sister of Hope, has organized the garden’s progress and helped to bring in and schedule volunteers. Using the land at Mariandale to share resources and to grow food for those who experience food scarcity is right in line with the Dominican Sisters of Hope’s mission and values.

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Arbor Day at Mariandale

On April 30, we celebrated Arbor Day at Mariandale the land and amongst the beautiful trees with song, poetry, and readings about what trees give to us and to the Earth.  A tree was planted in memory of a beloved volunteer and activist, Bernice McCann, who passed away in November 2020. We celebrate Bernice’s everlasting presence and spirit at Mariandale.

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Spring Equinox, March 20, 2021

On the Spring Equinox, we held a celebration outdoors at Mariandale. It was our first gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the center, temporarily. We gave thanks for the Earth and all who care for her, and took a walk to the gardens to see the early stages of “waking the garden up” after a long winter. Volunteer Janet Morra and Sr. Bette Ann Jaster led the group.

March Snowfall at the Healing Hut, 2021

The last snow of winter in 2021, a tough year for all of us. The light at sunset from the river seems to indicate Hope, at the end of a long winter. Look at the way the light hits the trees. Photo credit to Leeanna Varga.

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