Saint Michael's founding priests expand their retreat on Lake Champlain

By: Buff Lindau

boucher building addition drawing

A peaceful, prayerful retreat on Isle LaMotte in Lake Champlain with views across to the Adirondacks makes St. Anne's Shrine one of the most extraordinary properties in the state of Vermont. It is owned and conducted by the Society of St. Edmund, the order of Catholic priests and brothers who founded Saint Michael's College.

Challenged with maintenance of the property, members of the Society and the Shrine’s Board of Advisors began a fund drive to support expanding the facility to accommodate religious retreats and meetings by adding cabins and additional meetings spaces.

With deliberations starting in 2004, ground was broken on the $3.5 million project on April 15, 2013, with completion expected on August 15, 2013, ready to accommodate Saint Michael's students and others in the retreat facilities.

The Rev. Brian Cummings will bless the project on Sunday, June 16, at about 11:30 a.m., just after the 10:30 a.m. Mass at the construction site on the hill behind the historic Chapel on the lake front of St. Anne's Shrine.

The new facilities

The Rev. Brian Cummings, Saint Michael's Director of Campus Ministry also serves as Spiritual Director of St. Anne Shrine. He said that "For over a hundred years, members of the Society of St. Edmund have educated young people at Saint Michael's College and have invited students to explore their faith with greater understanding."  He said these new buildings are central to helping young people deepen their faith through "a personal encounter with the risen Christ in prayer."

Father Cummings said numerous visitors have also stated that they would very much like to stay on these Holy Grounds while making pilgrimages to the Shrine. They will now have facilities enabling prayer and quiet time in these facilities on the beautiful shores of Lake Champlain.

Each of the five new cabins will be suitable for adults of all ages and will include a living/dining room, a full kitchen and four bedrooms accommodating up to sixteen people.

Expanding the Boucher Building

cross at St. Anne's ShrineFather Cummings described the meeting facility project this way: The Boucher Building is the gathering place for hospitality and meals and also includes our administrative offices. The planned expansion of this facility will include additional meeting space for retreat conferences and also have private rooms for individual prayer. The main room will include a beautiful stone fireplace and will have scenic views of Lake Champlain.

These new facilities will allow the Shrine to serve as a place of prayer and retreat all year round. In the summer months, faithful people from parishes throughout the Northeast will have the opportunity to make pilgrimages for a weekend or a week's time. During the academic year, young adults from Saint Michael's College and other schools will have an attractive site for retreats. Drawing people to the Shrine in the off-season months will allow the Shrine to break even in future years while providing a year-round facility for faith-based organizations in a beautiful setting. See more at and photos at!photo-gallery/c1jdu.

To support the project

Those wishing to support this transformative project may send contributions to the Capital Campaign entitled Strengthening Discipleship at St. Anne's Shrine, P.O. Box 280, Isle La Motte, VT 05463.

For further information, contact The Rev. Brian Cummings, SSE, at 802-654-2476.

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