| Villa Maria del Mar celebrates 50 years
The Sisters of the Holy Names are celebrating 50 years at Villa Maria del Mar Retreat Center in 2013. The Retreat Center and near-by Chapel in Santa Cruz offer all people the opportunity to "Come apart and rest awhile" in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility overlooking beautiful Monterey Bay.
Since its beginning, Villa Maria del Mar has been dedicated to fostering a sense of hospitality, peace and renewal. Its history dates back to 1891 when the Catholic Ladies Aid Society in San Francisco was given the land. The Ladies Aid Society began construction immediately on the Santa Maria del Mar Hotel, which was used as a resort and retreat center for guests coming from the Bay Area and Santa Clara Valley. The Society used the profits from the hotel to support Saint Margaret's Residence — a residence for single, working women of modest means — in San Francisco.
In 1963 the Sisters of the Holy Names purchased the property and the hotel was renamed Villa Maria del Mar, beginning a 50-year retreat ministry. Villa Maria del Mar is a "hostess" retreat facility, meaning, each retreat group provides its own director and program.
Currently there are four Sisters of the Holy Names serving at the Villa: Helen O'Sullivan, Lois MacGillivray, Mimi Maloney and Patti Doyle, director, supported by 17 dedicated lay employees.
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