From the Niskayuna Times Union, September 8, 2020

The Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna recently received a $142,000 grant from the New York City-based Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.  The Foundation is named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children and the poor. It provides grants for organizations supporting vulnerable New Yorkers (including the disabled, low income pregnant women, veterans, former inmates) of all faiths or no faith at all.The Dominican Retreat will use the grant to help launch a spiritual sanctuary for seniors, persons with disabilities and 12-step group members. The Capital Region’s elder population, as well as the number of persons living with disabilities, is growing rapidly.

Founded in 1945, the Dominican Retreat & Conference Center (DRCC), has long been known as a place of peace, safety, rest, prayer and renewal, and it is open to all people who seek a deeper relationship with themselves, others and God. It provides a full schedule of prayer rituals, spiritual direction and faith formational events that support all ages.

The Retreat Center staff is hard at work upgrading the audio system, improving handicap access, purchasing the necessary equipment for a quality shift to virtual events, and obtaining a few recliners for seniors to use in bedrooms.  In addition, they can offer scholarship and transportation funding for anyone with limited means.

There is mounting evidence that providing for individual spiritual needs benefits physical and mental health, strengthens coping skills and encourages healthier practices. The launch of our Spiritual Sanctuary has arrived at just the right time when those among us at highest risk of coronavirus need a safe shelter that will protect and soothe the soul and strengthen one’s faith.

Our realization was that regardless of whether it was a program geared toward one of these three populations or not, these groups may have limited access to everything we offer because of lack of transportation, the inability to drive in inclement weather, a fixed income or income that goes primarily to medical expenses. So, the Sanctuary is not a specific room, but an opportunity to grow in thier own faith life without the worry of finances and logistics.  The grant allows us to offer scholarship and transportation assistance so that retreatants can attend programs in person, and to make upgrades within the facility to increase the comfort level particularly for seniors. It also allows us, in our current climate, to grow our virtual capacity so that we are able to extend our spiritual programming to those who are more confined to their homes due to Covid-19 while still offering scholarship possibilities.

For more information please call (518)393-4169 or email or visit the website

Sister Sue Zemgulis is the administrator of the Dominican Retreat and Conference  Center

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