Bull Valley’s Resurrection Center to Remain Retreat

Resurrection Center

The Daily Herald reveals that Resurrection Center is being purchased by Chicago’s Loyola University.

The purchase allows Loyola to establish a beachhead in the sixth largest county in Illinois.

The price for the 98 acres, zoned by the McHenry County Board as a senior retirement community, is reported to be $6.4 million.

The new name will be “Loyola University Chicago Retreat and Ecology Campus.”

Not only the biology department will benefit use the property, so will its Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy.

And, Loyola plans to make an impact on those of us who live in McHenry County.  That’s what the following press release says:

Loyola University Chicago Purchases

Resurrection Retreat Center in McHenry County, Illinois
Acquisition to Benefit Students Academically and Spiritually

CHICAGO, May 25, 2010 — Loyola University Chicago, the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic university, announced today that it has purchased the 98-acre Resurrection Retreat Center located at 2710 South Country Club Road in Woodstock, Illinois, from the Congregation of the Resurrection.

Buildings seen from afar.

The retreat center, which the University plans to name the Loyola University Chicago Retreat and Ecology Campus, will be used for a number of different purposes and features 100 guest rooms, a chapel, a full-service dining area, and meeting space.

The acquisition of the retreat center will allow the University to expand its student retreat programs, which currently only accommodate a small portion of first-year students.

The Chapel at Resurrection Center.

In addition to plans to offer retreat opportunities to all first-year students, the University also plans to introduce retreat-program opportunities for sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well.

“Making the University a sanctuary for self-reflection is an important part of the University’s strategic plan,” said Robert Kelly, vice president for student development.

”Offering retreats allows us to provide a significant experience for our students. Building a strong tradition of retreats geared towards their developmental needs supports the spirit and principles of a transformative education and will enable us to provide a premier undergraduate experience unmatched by any other Jesuit college and university.”

The University also plans to use the center to introduce an Outdoor Adventure Program.  The program will

  • provide students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to experience outdoor activities that are designed to promote positive lifetime skills and leadership development;
  • encourage personal and interpersonal development; and
  • increase environmental awareness by providing high-quality leisure education, outdoor, educational, and experiential programs.

On the academic side, the University’s biology department and Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP) will also benefit from the purchase.

With 20 acres of natural habitat that includes ponds, streams, woods, and prairie land, the property offers a unique learning opportunity for students and faculty interested in the sciences.

Students enrolled in classes like ecology, environmental sciences, wetlands biology, conservation biology, restoration biology, and others will have the opportunity to conduct field research on the land and work with the McHenry County Conservation District to restore the natural habitat.

This fall, CUERP will conduct a field course with students designing, planting, and maintaining an organic garden on the grounds, with intent to expand into a small sustainable farm that students, as well as local community members, will participate in.

Long term, the University would like to offer courses for the community on making compost, permaculture, bee keeping, seed collecting, and organic gardening.

”This acquisition makes a lot of sense for our University, and we are thrilled that we had the opportunity to make this land a part of Loyola University Chicago,” said Wayne Magdziarz, vice president of capital planning. ”Our students, whether through retreat opportunities or field research, will clearly benefit from this new space.”

The University also plans to make the retreat center available to external groups and organizations in the future. More information will be available when the University officially opens the center this fall.

About the Resurrection Retreat Center

Originally built in the 1970s as a novitiate for the Congregation of the Resurrection, the building was later converted to a retreat center in the 1980s by the Congregation. After adding an additional wing and 50 rooms to the center in the early 2000s, the retreat center eventually closed in 2009.

About Loyola University Chicago

Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago, founded in 1870, is the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic university. Enrollment is more than 15,800 students, which includes more than 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s 10 schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, communication, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, continuing and professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 71 undergraduate majors, 71 undergraduate minors, 85 master’s degrees, and 31 doctoral degrees. Loyola is consistently ranked among the top national universities by U.S.News & World Report, and the University was named a best value in its 2010 rankings. In addition, Loyola is among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations, such as the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. For more information about Loyola, please visit LUC.edu.

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I am particularly excited about this turn of events because it raises the possibility that the Walk to Emmaus retreats could return to Resurrection Center.

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