Celebrating the purchase of Durward’s Glen Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 26, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Durward’s Glen are, from left: Billy (Charles) Blau, Sr., Janet Atkinson, Florence Krejchik, Leonard Blau, Fr. Pedro Escribano, Mardell Krejchik, Rose Ann Blau, and Luke Blau. (Catholic Herald photo/Joe Ptak)

BARABOO -- It was a joyful day at Durward’s Glen on Saturday, May 14, as the new local owners celebrated their purchase of the retreat and educational center.

“Durward’s Glen has been here for almost 150 years,” said Mardell Krejchik, the center’s director, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We are so happy to continue the history and tradition started here by the Durward family.”

Krejchik held up the certificate declaring that Durward’s Glen is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Local residents pitch in

She said Durward’s Glen, owned by the Order of St. Camillus, was in “danger of being lost” to developers in 2007. Local residents pitched in and helped facilitate the sale of Durward’s Glen to the College of St. Mary Magdalen of New Hampshire.

However, the college was unable to continue to operate Durward’s Glen. A group of area people got together and purchased the glen under the name of Durward’s Glen Our Lady of the Rosary Group (OLRG) Ltd.

Krejchik thanked those who contributed to keep the glen open. “How much we appreciate your generosity and support. Our mission is to keep the glen open to the public and bring people closer to God.”

Fr. Pedro Escribano, of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, read a letter from Bishop Robert C. Morlino supporting the work being done at Durward’s Glen. “I encourage the faithful people of the Diocese of Madison and those visiting the Diocese of Madison to seriously consider using the retreat and education facilities at Durward’s Glen,” said Bishop Morlino.

“The various liturgical and devotional sites at Durward’s Glen, including among others the Holy Family Shrine, the Mary Mother of God Grotto, the Immaculate Conception Chapel, and the Stations of the Cross, provide ample opportunity for meditation and contemplation,” said the bishop.

“The opportunity in the modern world to find a quiet, peaceful corner to pray to Our Lord and Savior and retreat from our rushed lives is a gift from God,” he said.

Prayer and blessing

Father Escribano, who celebrates Mass regularly at Durward’s Glen, offered a prayer to God. “We are gathered here to begin a new stage of the glen and ask your grace and help, through your Mother, Mary.

“We thank you for creating this spot and preserving its beauty. Please continue to bless the work of the people here and inspire the generosity of many faithful so this work will continue.”

Abbot Marcel Rooney, O.S.B., who is establishing the St. Gregory Institute of Pastoral Liturgy, Music, and Art at Durward’s Glen, explained that the institute will help priests and lay people better understand the Eucharist and liturgy. The institute will provide a solid theological basis. Workshops, retreats, conferences, and an on-line component will be available.

Abbot Rooney also offered a prayer and blessing with holy water.

Welcome from the community

Krejchik said that Durward’s Glen has a “rich Catholic tradition” and “we’re about people, families, and community.”

She invited Robert Westby from the Columbia County Board of Supervisors to speak. Westby, who called himself a “good Methodist,” welcomed the new owners of Durward’s Glen. He said it was interesting that Bernard Durward, “in the middle of the Civil War,” ended up here in Wisconsin. “It’s just a beautiful place,” said Westby.

Volunteers needed

Krejchik said the new owners need a lot of help to run Durward’s Glen. Volunteers are welcome to help with laundry, housekeeping, mowing, landscaping, doing office work and mailings, serving as resource persons during retreats, putting up bulletin boards, and assisting in the gift shop.

Financial support is also important. People can become a member of Durward’s Glen for $10 a year. Members receive a quarterly newsletter and get one vote at the annual meeting.

Durward’s Glen is also launching a memorial brick campaign. Engraved bricks will line the pathway to and in front of the Mary Mother of God Grotto and there will be bricks leading to the St. Anthony Garden. For more information e-mail the glen150@gmailcom or visit the Web site at

For more information on volunteering, call Pam Quinlan at 608-393-3652.

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