The Loyola Retreat House will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Sunday. A Mass will be held at 2:30 p.m. and the event will be celebrated by Abbot Gary Hoover.
The Loyola Retreat House will celebrate its 50th Anniversary Sunday. The celebration will start with a Mass at 2:30 p.m., officiated by Abbot Gary Hoover.
The facility was founded in 1965 by the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits. It came into being when it was felt a retreat house was needed in Summit County. A lay group of Catholics raised money and looked into possible locations for the house. Rev. Thomas Billstein helped select the sight in southern Summit County near Nimisila Reservoir.
Billstein was a guiding force in the development of programs and retreats at the facility. He was the director for several years until ill health forced his retirement in the early 1970s. At that time, the house was known as Loyola of the Lakes Retreat House.
For 44 years the facility was associated with the Jesuits. Unfortunately, a decline the number of Jesuit priests made it very difficult for the order to continue to staff the house. In 2008 a new sponsor was found to take the facility under its wing. The Benedictine order from St. Andrew Abbey in Cleveland took over the house and its affiliation with the Jesuits formally ended.
The house continued to be a location for weekend and directed retreats as well as days of prayer and reflection. It held meetings and religious events and had new programs, retreats and conferences added.
The house is located off Killinger Road in a rural, 75-acre wooded area. It has room for 37 overnight guests, various meeting rooms, a chapel, library, theater, and bookstore. There is a large dining room and a variety of Audio Visual aides for presentations.
Outside, there are Stations of the Cross, shrines, and prayer paths for spiritual reflection for those attending events at the facility. This quiet and solitude was one of the reasons Billstein selected the grounds for the retreat.
For further information on the facility, contact the Retreat House at 330-896-2315 or visit www.loyolaretreathouse.com.