For several years after that, a group called ACLD (Adults and Children with Learning & Developmental Disabilities) rented the building and during that time special needs students were served. Also during that time, Sister Martina Serafin, General Superior, and the Council began to explore new housing for the formation of new members. After a number of possibilities had been discussed and studied, a suggestion was made by Sister Bridget Miller to convert a section of the former high school into formation quarters. It was then decided that the remainder of the building could be used for retreats for the Sisters.
Renovation of the building was scheduled to begin. Sadly, though, in January 1985, Sister Martina, under whose tenure the retreat center had begun, died. The project was taken up by her successor, Sister Jerome Plusquellec. Fittingly, the Center was named after Sister Martina whose vision set the project in motion.
On February 23, 1986, Bishop Anthony Bosco dedicated Martina Spiritual Renewal Center. He said, “It requires a good deal of Christian ingenuity and inspiration from the Holy Spirit to take what appears to be a negative experience and transform it into something positive. On the tearful day when the Holy Ghost High School closed its doors, we ended an important chapter in the history of this community. The school halls which once rang with the laughter and the chatter of young women who were learning to love God will now be a house of formation for our young sisters and a place of prayer for all who care to come and spend some prayerful hours with us. I pray that all those who will benefit from the prayerful atmosphere of our new facility will be inspired by the by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and will also breathe some of the spirit of Sister Martina and all of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit.”
Sister Mary Grace Black, the last principal to serve Holy Ghost High School, was the first Sister to serve as director of the Martina Spiritual Renewal Center. Her successor was Sister Mary Richard Mehelich who can be credited with “putting Martina Center on the map”. Sister Mary Richard served as the director of the Center for seventeen years. During that time she initiated many programs and retreats that continue on to this day. In 2003 Sister Cindy Ann Kibler became the third director of the retreat center; after five years the mantle was passed to Sister Donna Smith who remains the current administrator of Martina Spiritual Renewal Center.
Since that early beginning when the intent was to use the Center for formation candidates and retreats for the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, the directors have heeded the words of their foundress, Mother Josephine Finatowicz, to “Serve where the need is the greatest.” Retreats have opened up to meet the needs of a wide variety of groups of people. Each year retreats are offered for many groups of men and women, lay and religious as well as the youth seeking to grow in their faith.
Martina Spiritual Renewal Center today