No Requiem for Mt. Manresa
Mt. Manresa was, until April, 2014, a 15.4 acre Catholic retreat house, the old institution of its kind in the United States of America. It was sold by its owners of 100 years, the Society of Jesuits of the Province of New York for $15 million in 2012. Mt. Manresa was located, quite literally, in the shadow of the Verrazano Bridge, the gateway to Staten Island.
It was the Catholic Mecca for many thousands of New York City residents for an entire century. Its Gothic style dormitories and chapel and its isolated trails, shaded by towering stands of ancient oaks, yellow tulip and maples, offered rare opportunities for silent meditation and reflection in a frenetically encroaching urban environment. Mt. Manresa's rare bucolic setting, undisturbed glacially formed hills and centuries-old trees had survived many decades of thoughtless, rapacious development of relentlessly shrinking open spaces which until recent decades completely embraced it. A water tower built of stone and brick in 1860, one of only two such structures in the City of New York, complemented the Gothic dormitories, gargoyles and chapel. A thirty ft. tall grotto, constructed of huge field stones laid up by hand one hundred fifty years ago, enshrined sacred statuary.
Sixty percent of Staten Island's population is Catholic. Every one of Staten Island's relevant elected officials and the NYC public advocate vowed to save it. The Staten Island Advance and local TV comprehensively and steadily reported the issue. Yet today the Mt.Manresa property is a barren, treeless wasteland soon to be occupied by as many as 400 townhouses. City officials fail to explain how vitally required municipal services like schools, fire and police protection, transportation and sewers, in an already underserved community, will be provided to thousands of new residents.
Find out how a highly suspicious series of social and political failures led to the destruction of Mt. Manresa in spite of