As part of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) Central Pacific Province’s Integrated Implementation Process (their province's version of our Embracing the Future), St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa, Mississippi, will be closing this year. The Sisters who currently reside there are in the process of moving to St. Anthony’s Gardens in Covington, Louisiana. During this transition there is so much to share. Many of you probably have your own fond memories of the property, where SSNDs from all over North America often went for retreat. When the process of moving and closing the property is complete, Chatawa will have been in operation for 146 years. That’s 146 years worth of stories and memories.
The property where St. Mary of the Pines stands was first purchased in 1868 by Redemptorist priests. They used the land to open a seminary and preparatory college then continued to build and purchase land until the property grew to 300 acres. In 1879, the property was offered to Mother Caroline Friess, the leader of SSND in North America. The property, including the buildings, farm, kitchen equipment and cattle, was offered for $9,000. Since Sisters had been sent there to help staff the elementary school in 1874, many had already been living on the property. For Mother Caroline, it was too good of a deal to pass up.
Read more about this transition on the Central Pacific website.