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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Church Communities to lease Mount St. Alphonsus

The Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province are pleased to announce an agreement with Church Communities to lease Mount St. Alphonsus Retreat Center on Route 9W in Esopus, NY.

Church Communities will move in by February 1, 2012 and plans to continue the use of the existing facilities as a religious community and educational center. Some of the property will be used for farming, which hearkens back to the days when Redemptorists first worked the land when it served as the congregation’s North American seminary.

“The agreement with Church Communities is a wonderful fit for the Mount,” said Baltimore Provincial Kevin Moley. “We’re pleased that the property will remain a place of prayer and of work for the glory of God.”

The chapel’s stained glass windows, a very visible representation of the Mount’s Redemptorist history, will remain along with much of the original construction and décor. A perpetual easement for the cemetery will guarantee continued access to and use of the burial ground by the Redemptorists.

During a transition period, the Redemptorists will continue to use the gatehouse. The Redemptoristines, a group of contemplative Catholic nuns, also will continue to occupy their convent, which is located on the property.

Built between 1904 and 1907, the Mount opened in 1908 as the Redemptorists’ North American House of Studies. In addition to being a place of study, Mount St. Alphonsus was a self-sustaining property — the Redemptorist brothers farmed and raised animals for their own food. Since 1985, when the students relocated to Washington, D.C., the Mount has served as a retreat center.

In February 2011, the Redemptorists announced that they would cease retreat operations at the Mount in January 2012 due to changing ministry demands and an aging membership.

“The Mount will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Redemptorists,” Father Moley said. “The decision to end our ministry here was not an easy one. More than 1,000 Redemptorist priests were ordained in the beautiful chapel over the years, including myself. And the many thousands of retreatants who have come to the Mount over the last 25 years have been a great blessing to us.”

Church Communities, also known as the Bruderhof, is an international network of Christian communities originating in 1921 in Germany. Its first community in the United States, Woodcrest, was established in nearby Rifton, NY in 1954. Members take Jesus Christ and the early Christian church as their example for daily living.

Esopus Town Supervisor John Coutant said, “The Mount property is an important part of the fabric and history of the Town of Esopus. Together with the Town Board, I am excited to see the stewardship of this property pass on to Church Communities, and that our Town will not be negatively impacted by a change to this pristine environment.”