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The Center at Mariandale featured in an Archways magazine article about Hudson Valley and other NY retreat centers!
Article starts on page 18. Enjoy!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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