Did You Know?
In addition to the retreats and programs offered by our Spiritual Growth staff, the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth welcomes Catholic and other ecumenical groups who are looking for a beautiful setting to conduct their own group meetings.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
That is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
In the years 1927 and 1928 an exploding Catholic population in the Maryland - New York Province was creating a need for an administrative split to produce two provinces. Along with that decision was the necessity of an additional novitiate for the training of novices. Pennsylvania was a good location for the school that was to teach and form Jesuits of the Maryland Province. During this time, the prevailing Jesuit training concept was to remove novices from the mainstream and educate them in an idyllic, secluded setting. Attracted by Wernersville’s rail lines, beautiful topography, and health resorts, the Jesuits selected the Mary Gaul Homestead in Lower Heidelberg Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, as the site for the new project.
The buildings and grounds of the Jesuit Community near Wernersville were the gift of Nicholas and Genevieve Brady, close friends and benefactors of the Jesuit Community of the Maryland – New York Province. Nicholas was one of the great financial powers of his day and used his great wealth for philanthropy. Devout Catholics, Mr. and Mrs. Brady took an active interest in the planning and design
of the new center.
Nothing was spared in the construction of the Wernersville facility. The Novitiate Building was designed by the noted Boston architecture firm of McGinnis and Walsh in the English Renaissance style. Maginnis and Walsh were among the premier ecclesiastical designers of their day. Funded by Mr. and Mrs. Brady at an estimated cost of $2 million, the Novitiate featured carved oak, marble, coffered ceilings, and ornate details executed by European and local craftsmen. Construction on the “house” began in 1928.
History of the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues
About Us | History
The buildings and grounds of the Jesuit Community near Wernersville were the gift of Nicholas and Genevieve Brady,
close friends and benefactors of the
Jesuit Community of the Maryland –
New York Province