HISTORY OF MARIE JOSEPH SPIRITUAL CENTER
Marie Joseph Spiritual Center is owned and operated by the Congregation of the Presentation of Mary. The Spiritual Center has a unique setting in a cove off the coast of southern Maine, located in Biddeford Pool where one can wake to beautiful sunrises and taper off the days with gorgeous sunsets. This “Sacred Space” is situated between two small ponds and is sided by the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and has beachfront access, convenient parking and is surrounded by nature’s beauty providing an opportunity for silence, healing and a prayerful atmosphere for those seeking renewal in spirit.
The building’s origin dates back to the late 1800’s when the Ocean View Hotel owned by the Evans family was established in Biddeford Pool. While no longer a vacation resort, Marie Joseph Spiritual Center continues a tradition of offering hospitality in the context of spiritual nurturance.
The Congregation of the Presentation of Mary has offered a local presence since 1948 when the community purchased the Ocean View Hotel and it then became a young women’s boarding school known as Marie Joseph Academy as well as a Leadership Administration site for the community. In 1978 the house became a Center for retreat days of recollection and so the name changed to Marie Joseph Spiritual Center with its formal dedication as a Spiritual Center in 1979.
Throughout the years the center has grown in its variety of programs being offered. The Center sponsors retreats and programs and also hosts groups such as other interdenominational groups desiring to use the facility for their spiritual growth and needs. The retreat staff also offers presentations, days of recollection, preached as well as directed retreats and spiritual direction. One can also make a private retreat if desired.
The retreat facility has forty eight rooms (with both, single and double occupancy) having the possibility of housing up to seventy guests. The Center provides breakfast, lunch and dinner and the guests may choose to dine in the main dining room engaging in conversation or choose the more quiet, silent atmosphere in a small dining room. Meeting and Gathering Spaces are available as well as lounge areas for the various individuals and or groups. There is also a library for one to sit and read or ponder all the while taking in the beauty of a forever changing nature which can be viewed through the library’s many windows. There is also an elevator as well as ramps for handicap accessibility.
The Center’s sustaining inspiration and zeal find their roots in that of the Congregation’s foundress, Blessed Anne Marie Rivier, whose desire was “to make Jesus Christ known, loved and to light the fire of God’s love everywhere.” The staff, sisters and devoted employees and volunteers keep the spirit alive through their generous hospitality, simplicity, openness of mind and welcoming heart to all denominations. One can always find themselves in the midst of a supportive, praying community where the guests are invited (if they wish) to participate in daily communal prayer and Eucharistic Celebration in the Chapel which is located on the second floor and overlooks the ocean (providing wonderful GOD distractions). Regardless of the possible hustle and bustle of groups coming and going there is a quiet spot to be found.
We are a non-profit organization. For additional information about the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, you may visit our Web site at: http://www.presentationdemarie-international.org/