Local group secures Durward’s Glen Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Pam Quinlan, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, May. 12, 2011 -- 12:00 AM
The Mary Mother of God Grotto at Durward’s Glen. (Contributed photo)

DURWARD’S GLEN -- “We’ve got it!” announced Director Mardell Krejchik at Durward’s Glen.

Effective April 28, 2011, the non-profit group Durward’s Glen Our Lady of the Rosary Group (OLRG) Ltd. owns and operates this 150-year-old Catholic retreat center and nature sanctuary.

Former owner, the College of St. Mary Magdalen of New Hampshire, sold the glen to this non-profit organization.

Preserving as a ‘holy state’

“We are very happy to announce that we can preserve the Durward trails, Spring Pond, Prentice Creek, Mary Mother of God Grotto, the retreat center, and other devotional sites on the grounds,” said Krejchik. “We are thrilled that we will remain open to the public as we always have been.

“Bernard Durward, poet, naturalist, writer, and founder of the glen, will have his last will and testament fulfilled. In his will he mentioned protecting the rocks, streams, forests, ferns, flowers, and mosses. He asked that the grounds and buildings be kept up. He acknowledged he wanted to keep the property in a ‘holy state’.’

“Although the retreat center is Catholic, non-Catholic retreats are welcomed as well. The glen holds individual and group retreats, family reunions, parish staff, business, and government staff retreats,” she added. “We are kindly accepting donations to cover our operating expenses. Please consider joining us on this new journey.”

Ribbon cutting ceremony

“Saturday, May 14, we are inviting the public to a ribbon cutting ceremony at the glen from 2 to 4

p.m.,” said Krejchik. “Historical tours will be offered and refreshments will be served. Our address is W11876 McLeisch Rd., Baraboo.”

Also, Tuesdays are a special day at Durward’s Glen for all visitors. Mass is held at 8 a.m., followed by a spiritual talk and refreshments. Historical tours are at 9:30 a.m.

Memorial Brick Campaign

Durward’s Glen has launched a Memorial Brick Campaign Fund Raiser. Lining a footpath leading up the hill to the Mary, Mother of God Grotto are bricks that are for sale and that one can have engraved in memory of a love one.

The grotto, built in 2010 by Leo Blau and his brothers, houses a Virgin Mary statue that came from Italy. Stones from St. Raphael Cathedral in Madison, obtained after the fire, were used in its construction along with two stones from the original Durward home.

The bricks range in price depending on size and location. Generally speaking, the bricks closest to the grotto require the largest donation.

One can “buy a brick” for as little as $500 and have their name engraved on a six by 11 inch brick on a footpath leading to the St. Anthony Garden. For a donation of $25,000 or more, donors will actually have their name engraved on a 12 by 12 inch tile at the foot of Our Lady.

“We have had a most favorable response,” said Krejchik. “It is not just Catholics who are interested in helping us. Nature lovers and residents in Sauk and Columbia Counties who love the glen want to preserve it in its original state, as it have been for over 150 years.”

Those who would like to make a contribution to preserve this natural treasure may contact Mardell Krejchik at 608-742-3364 or Pam Quinlan at 608-393-3652.

Volunteers welcome

Volunteers are also welcome to help with cleaning, maintaining the grounds, assisting with retreats, gardening, baking, operating the gift shop, and serving as tour guides.

“We encourage more people to join us, especially from the surrounding community,” said Krejchik.

Those interested in volunteering should call Pam Quinlan at 608-393-3652 for more information.

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