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Our mission and history

As a Redemptorist Ministry, the Notre Dame Retreat House was opened in 1967 in Canandaigua, Western New York, by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer—the Redemptorists. The Retreat House is part of a long-standing tradition and charisma of the Congregation in spreading the Gospel and ministering to the spiritual needs of the faithful.

The Redemptorists are a community of men founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori in 1732. Alphonsus, from the city of Naples, noticed that there were people in the society of his time that were abandoned both spiritually and socially. He founded the Redemptorists “to minister to the needs of the poor and most abandoned” and to preach the Word of God to these disenfranchised people.

In 1832 the Redemptorists exported their missionary charisma to the New World to preach the Gospel to the Native Americans in the Northwest Territory and to German immigrants from Europe. Among the places where the missionaries settled first was the city of Rochester, New York.

In 1921 the Redemptorists started to give annual retreats at St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester. From there, in 1926, they procured a property in Geneva, on the Seneca Lake, and started the first Retreat House in the Diocese of Rochester. The Retreat House moved to the City of Rochester in 1956 and finally to where we are today in Canandaigua, New York.

Click if you’ve ever thought you might have a vocation as a Redemptorist.