Sale of Rosaryville Spirit Life Center Completed; New Owner Shares Our Ecological Values

Ponchatoula, LA, August 4, 2020 – The Dominican Sisters of Peace have completed the sale of the Rosaryville Spirit Life Center, a retreat and conference center on approximately 1700 acres in Ponchatoula, LA.

“We give thanks to God for all of the graces associated with Rosaryville over these many years. Many adults and children have deepened their relationship with God through their participation in Rosaryville’s many ministries, and we are so happy to have played a part in sharing Christ’s Gospel with others,” said Sr. Pat Twohill, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

“When we began the effort to find a buyer for the property, we wanted to be able to conserve the wetlands for future generations, and to preserve access to and perpetual care of the cemeteries of the Sisters and Friars,” said Sr. Therese Leckert, of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Leadership Team. “I am happy to say that we have met these goals, and that the spirit and mission of Rosaryville – to provide a nurturing environment for spiritual growth and connection to the natural world – will live on.”

The property has been in the hands of consecrated religious since 1890, when it was purchased by the Benedictine Fathers. The Spanish Dominican Friars took over the property in 1911, christening it “Rosaryville,” as suggested by a Dominican Sister in the New Orleans Motherhouse. In 1939 Rosaryville became the novitiate and retirement home of the Dominican Sisters, Congregation of St. Mary (now the Dominican Sisters of Peace).

In keeping with Dominican tradition, Rosaryville’s mission has evolved with the needs of the time and the community. In 1946, because of the rapid growth of vocations in America, Rosaryville included a residential high school, called The Aspiranture, for those girls interested in becoming Dominican Sisters.

In 1969, Camp Kateri, a youth camp, was opened to allow urban children an opportunity to enjoy and learn about the beauty of God’s creation.

Rosaryville Spirit Life Center was established in 1981. This retreat and conference center hosted adults and young people from around the nation, offering spiritual teaching, life coaching, and a welcoming place to grow spiritually, and to come to know God through the greatness and grace of the creatures God has created.

In 2014, Rosaryville became the home for Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Chapel, a historic church built in the 1940s that was relocated to the grounds from Manchac, LA.

The property is also home to two historic cemeteries: the Dominican Friars’ Cemetery and the Dominican Sisters’ Cemetery, as well as a public cemetery established in 2017

Other Sisters serve in New Orleans and Hammond in pastoral, spiritual direction, nursing, educational, and death penalty mitigation ministries.

Posted in News

6 responses to “Sale of Rosaryville Spirit Life Center Completed; New Owner Shares Our Ecological Values

  1. I found out today from a cousin who lives in Hammond that Rosaryville closed. Very sad for me but so many fond memories as I, in 1958, graduated from grammar school, Mater Dolorosa, independence. Went to Rosaryville after graduation as an Aspirant. Rosaryville provided me with a great foundation for my life. I was an Aspirant for two years and then moved back home to finish high school at Independence High.

    I live in California ,for last 50 years, but each time I visited my family in
    Independence I would always drive to Rosaryville and visit the grounds and always left feeling peaceful and thankful that I was given the experience of a lifetime.
    God’s peace to all,
    Congetta Catalano

  2. I cannot tell you how much Rosaryville means to me and several other SSND’s. We experienced so many spiritual blessings when we made retreats there. S. Dorothy Lorio had two SSND sisters so we have always had a soft spot in our hearts for you all. We rejoice with you!

  3. S. Gemma Marie Dittle, SSND I cannot tell you how much Rosaryville means to me and several other SSND’s. We experienced so many spiritual blessings when we made retreats there. S. Dorothy Lorio had two SSND sisters so we have always had a soft spot in our hearts for you all. We rejoice with you!

  4. My love for Rosaryville extends not only to the year 1955 when I entered there to become a Dominican, but as far back as the last decade of the 18th century when my grandfather, then a Benedictine monk, arrived there by boat with several other monks to found their new monastery in Louisiana which they named Gessen – later to be renamed Rosaryville when purchased by the Dominican fathers.

  5. I appreciate this article very much, and the events it presented to those of us who were not fully familiar.

    What a wonderful history ! Many thanks to those who were involved in Rosaryville all those years , and to those who continue Dominican ministry and presence in Louisiana now..

  6. How wonderful that our congregational goals have been met! Thank you for the historical summary of various ministries. I am so glad that the New Owner has been found to share our values.

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