Monday, October 08, 2007

Mount St. Alphonsus - 100th Anniversary Celebration - 1907-2007

Over one hundred and fifty Redemptorist priests and brothers are gathered at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, New York to celebrate the centenary of this venerable institution, the location of the Seminary of the Baltimore Province from 1907 to 1985 and since then a retreat center offering a place for prayer and spiritual growth since 1989. It is a joy to see these men come together to share their memories of missionary service in places up and down the east coast of the United States, in the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti and the Domincan Republic. These are our "Redemptorist Brothers" for whom we pray and from whom we have received so much.

These 400+ acres of property on the banks of the Hudson River only one hundred miles north of New York City was purchased by the Congregation early in the 20th century with the intention of constructing a new seminary. It would be the location for the theologate level of education therefore the place of ordination for generations of priests. Tuberculosis was making its way through the seminary in the Baltimore area and the search was on for a healthier climate and the proper location for a building intended to be a seminary but having the architectural features recommended for TB sanitariums of the day - big bedrooms, high ceilings, and lots of large windows to let in the fresh air. The result is a huge castle-like affair, very masculine and made with the best of materials. Its common rooms are generous. The dining room can seat 200 and the library positively 'romantic' with its three story open center lined with balconies of shelving at each level. In its hay day their was a farm, cattle, and horse on the property. These provided training for young missionaries heading out to the campos of Brazil. Oddly enough, while the learned how to ride horses they were not taught Portuguese before shipping of to Brazil.

More about this special celebration the the Mount's stunning chapel will follow.

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