St. Mary's Outreach Volunteers Experience Foothills of Berkshires at Wisdom House


An inspirational idea led Daughters of Wisdom, Sr. Camille Solis and Sr. Evelyn Eckhardt along with 14 parishioners who serve as Outreach Volunteers at St. Mary’s Church in East Islip, NY to venture beyond Long Island to Wisdom House in Litchfield, Connecticut for a weekend gathering.

Sr. Camille, Director of Parish Social Ministry at St Mary’s, reported that weeks before the trip, the excitement of those going began to build. Their accommodations would be in the requested farmhouse- a beautiful and rustic home roomy enough for the entire group. Each had a private room, and in no time made themselves comfortable. Sr. Camille expressed, “For lack of a better word, the gathering quickly took on the feel of a retreat; and that it was because we were in the midst of Wisdom’s creation.” And all conditions were perfect as the participants had the fortune of weather that was mild and slightly breezy.

On Sunday, the participants attended an outdoor Mass at the Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine, run by the Montfort Missionaries who with the Daughters of Wisdom, the Brothers of Saint Gabriel, lay associates, and co-workers form the Montfortian Family.  The Shrine is a replica of the Grotto Lourdes in France. Built of local fieldstone by two Montfort Brothers with the help of Montfort seminarians and people from the area, the Shrine was dedicated in 1958. For the comfort of the guests on this day, Fr. Don La Salle, SMM greeted them and handed out blankets to wear over their shoulders. Sr. Camille commented, “I felt so proud to introduce our group to our Montfortian Family.

About Wisdom House, Sr. Camille commented, “Let me tell you about the food–It was classy and delicious. Healthy never tasted so good! Chef Margaret even baked pastries for purchase that we could to bring home. Our weekend included six meals with snacks and beverages available all day. Wisdom surely set the table for us.”

Back on the grounds of Wisdom House, “a truly sacred time was had as we witnessed the morning mist lift and the day progress, while we walked the classical 7-circuit labyrinth in silence, honoring the journey of each of our lives,” said Sr. Camille.

“Both Deborah Kelly, Wisdom House’s executive director, and Carol Gould, Wisdom House’s Conference Coordinator couldn’t have been more gracious. They met our every need. Over that short time, we all became friends,” Sr. Camille.

Sr. Camille claims, “The Hills are alive with the Blessings of Wisdom. The very best of our weekend was the times we prayed together, shared our own stories, and deepened our intimacy with Wisdom. We rounded out our weekend with a trip for homemade ice cream at Peaches and Cream of Litchfield, another destination place in the area. I asked each person on the trip, what it was like for them. Their answers included a sacred experience, peace, and quiet. And, even FUN.” 

Hilary Adorno