Chronicle History of Mother of Sorrows Retreat House 1970s – 1993

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  • January–Renovations to the chapel start. Estimated cost – $7,500.
  • Fr. Malcolm replaces Fr. Hillary Sweeney.
  • April 11–Bishop Weldon reconsecrated the renovated chapel.
  • September–First Barbecue held – 1,500 attend.
  • December–First Fraternity of Grace Retreat
  • Under Fr. Leo, the first full-time employee was hired, Secretary Jo O’Quinn.
  • The Board of Directors was founded. The first Board of Directors members were: William Jones, Chairman, Henry Boyer, Joseph Bay, Leo Plasse, James Sullivan, J. Santo Ciccia, Gerard Desnoyer, James Devine, Don Pilon and James Britton.


  • April–Fr. Malcolm leaves to go to Shrewsbury.
  • June 9-11–First Marriage Encounter. Next one was held October 6-8.
  • October-Fr. Xavier Hayes leaves to become Rector of the Pittsburgh house.


  • September–Youth Ministry “Impact” program begun.
  • October–First General Meeting of the Retreat League instituted by Fr. Leo Gorman.


  • Fr. Leo Gorman leaves to go to Brighton, MA. Fr. Lucian Clark becomes the new Retreat Director.
  • July 8–First organizational meeting of the Women’s Auxiliary was held.
  • The Committee on Promotion was founded.


  • October 10–One hundred and fifteen retreatants gathered for the first Charismatic Retreat. The priests who celebrated Mass on Saturday and Sunday were: Fr. Lucian Clark, Fr. Phil Kelly, Fr. Frank Darling and Fr. Regis Giroux. Fr. Philip Kelly was Retreat Coordinator.


  • Jim Greer, a layman, becomes a member of the Retreat staff.
  • November 1–First Spanish Retreat was held. Monsignor Zulvaga of Columbia was Retreat Master.


  • January–Medallions were issued for the first time. William Curran underwrote the cost. These medallions were made to be given out as special tributes.
  • Retreats International awarded the Pius X award to Jim Britton.
  • October–After 17 years as President of the Retreat League, Jim Britton retires.
  • Ray Gosselin assumes the Presidency of the Retreat League. The term of President is set at two years.


  • The Board of Directors was reformed and named Executive Board.


  • March 1–The Development Fund has its start with William Curran as its Chairman. The goal was set at $50,000.


  • March–Women of the Episcopal faith make a first retreat at Mother of Sorrows.
  • Fr. Eric Hart, C.P., introduced the computer system into the Retreat House.


  • November–Fr. Rob Carbonneau initiates the program Sharing. Retreatants are asked to bring canned goods to their retreat. They will be distributed to the needy.
  • Mike Pino, the official photographer for the Retreat House, makes his 40th retreat. He has served as the photographer for 35 years.


  • Development Committee hosted a dinner meeting to help raise funds.
  • The play, The Miser, written by Moliere, was put on by the Stage West Players with the proceeds going to the Development Fund. Tickets sold at $20.


  • Jim Greer becomes the first Lay Retreat Director. Sr. Maureen Kervick. SSJ, becomes the first woman Associate Director.


  • Very Reverend Norbert Dorsey, C.P., is appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Miami, Florida. His roots were formed as a young man working in the kitchen of the Retreat House. He joined the Passionist order and later became Rector of the Monastery.


  • Bishop Norbert Dorsey, C.P., becomes Bishop of Orlando, Florida.


  • April 3–The first CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) Program, sponsored by the Retreat House and directed by Fr. Dave Bolton, SJ, has its graduation. There were seventeen in the class.
  • July and August–Elderhostel is started.
  • Fr. John Patrick, C.P., of the Retreat House staff celebrates his 50th year as a Passionist Father.


  • Summer–James Greer resigns. Frs. Donald Ware, C.P., and Columkille O’Grady, C.P., are appointed to the Retreat Center. Sr. Connie Roy, SSJ, remains on team. Frs. John Patrick Moore, C.P., and John O’Brien, C.P., leave the Retreat House.

[Our Mother of Sorrows Retreat Center closed in 1993 due to an aging Passionist Community and serious budget deficit. There had been a decline in numbers of retreatants from 2286 in 1980 to 1529 in 1993. As this short history shows, the Retreat Center had been a vital and dynamic part of the Church’s ministry in the Springfield Diocese.]

Chronicle History of Mother of Sorrows Retreat House