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The Priory Retreat House
135 Priory Rd
Chestertown, NY 12817
 

Priory Community

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Matthew 18:20

Meet the People

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Dustin Katona, the Priory hosts and listens to all who come to its doors. We offer overnight retreats, weekend workshops, and full and half-day programs. We also host groups who want a place to hold their own retreats and gatherings, and individuals who are seeking a time of solitude and prayer.  The house and grounds are places that cultivate stillness and stability amidst an ever-changing world.

Priory Staff

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Dustin is called to form of an intentional community of prayer, hospitality and active stewardship for God’s creation. With over a decade of experience serving as a parish youth minister, he has led mission trips, wilderness ventures, spiritual directed retreats, and given numerous talks on being Disciples of Christ. He has made several pilgrimages throughout the world to spiritually enriching holy sites, but has always found the most refuge in the woods of North America. He is also an independent filmmaker and public speaker and holds a B.A. in Religious Studies, an M.A. in Catholic Studies.

Dustin Katona

Executive Director
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Lanni has traveled the world empowering women through the arts. She has spoken publicly on the importance of non-consumption and how to awaken to the reality we can creatively re-use what we already own. She earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies, holds a LLM in International Law, and taught Women’s Studies at Ithaca and Wells College respectfully. You can find Lanni’s business online at www.FashionRedesign.com.

Lanni Lantto

Associate Director
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Twelve years ago, Maureen experienced the sacred space of the Priory for the first time. Since then, she has returned many times and in 2014, she was pleased to join the staff as part time office manager. It has been her intention to bring her business and customer service experience to welcoming those who seek time away for quiet refreshment with a spirit of hospitality.

Maureen Schultz

Office Manager
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Megan has been consulting for small businesses for over 5 years and holds a BA in Marketing and an MS in Education. After volunteering, attending, and facilitating programs at The Priory, it became apparent that she would be a good fit to promoting the Priory's goals and mission. Her fondness for the Priory space was immediate, and she feels blessed to assist with the Priory's growth and reach across the region.

Megan Seeley

Marketing

Board

Dustin Katona

Executive Director

Peter Hart

President

Melissa Wilson

Vice President

Lynne Shepherd

Secretary

Mark Hodge

Treasurer

Sandy LaPierre
Deacon Andy Grebe
Mary Anne Doty
Marc Lustick
Pat Mousaw

History

The Invitation

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. … Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
(Mt. 5:14,16)

In 1974, Father Paul Roman received an invitation from his friend, Bill Aiken, to “climb a mountain.” At the top, he saw one hundred acres of virgin Adirondack forest, and hung a medal of St. Benedict on a beam of a sagging barn. Upon coming down the mountain, Fr. Roman shared the news of his recent discovery with his friends, Fathers John Kerwin and Michael Neaton. These two priests had recently been granted permission to establish a Catholic monastic community where they could lead a life of contemplation, hospitality, work, and service. This mountaintop made for an ideal permanent site and the foundation to a community set a part from the world.

“You are not of the world…I chose you out of the world.”
(Mt. 15:19)

Following construction of the house in 1979, Bishop Howard Hubbard dedicated the building, grounds and community as the Priory of St. Benedict. While the community sought contemplation and the living out of their call as monastics, people began to come for common prayer and times of public worship with the monks. As the friends of the monks grew in numbers, the reputation of the Priory also grew. In time, the focus of the community began to shift to establishing a retreat house for all peoples.

In 1984, The Priory’s new chapel was completed and dedicated by Bishop Hubbard and in 1985, the last monk of the original community left to follow a new call. With this, the faithful friends of the community began to discern anew The Priory’s purpose.

Dedicated to helping people cultivate their spirituality, Sister Connie Messitt, CSJ was asked to become Retreat Director of The Priory in 1987. She proposed to the Board of Directors to officially convert the house into a year round center for people of all faiths. Sister Francis Gilchrist, CSJ joined the Priory community in 1989 and became co-director, where she would serve until 2005. Pat Mousaw served as co-director until 2007 after Sr. Fran’s departure from full-time ministry, followed by Sister Karen Lee, CSJ who would assist Sr. Connie as assistant director for a time. After almost 30 years of service, Sr. Connie retired from her role as the Priory’s Director in 2015.

“Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.”
(Mk.6:31)

Presently, under the leadership of Executive Director, Dustin Katona, the Priory hosts and listens to all who come to its doors. We offer overnight retreats, weekend workshops, and full and half-day programs. We also host groups who want a place to hold their own retreats and gatherings, and individuals who are seeking a time of solitude and prayer.  The house and grounds are places that cultivate stillness and stability amidst an ever-changing world.

Rooms

Rooms and meeting space are available upon request.

Just ask us!

Single Room

A private space with a comfortable twin bed, linens and towels provided. Breathtaking Adirondack views just outside your window. Shared bathroom (please bring your own toiletries).

Double Room

A shared sleeping space with with two twin beds, fresh linens and towels provided. Shared bathroom (please bring your own toiletries).

Loft Room

Among the house’s many nooks and crannies, you may want to take advantage of some if its coziest sleeping spaces and drift off on a comfy futon or cot- fresh linens provided. A privacy screen is also available.

Meeting Space

Come to The Priory of St. Benedict’s Retreat House and Conference Center’s sacred mountaintop in the southeastern Adirondacks for your next meeting or event! Our team will work closely with you to ensure that you and your group are served and satisfied! With day-time use of the facility, you are entitled to its many amenities, including:

A large, eat-in kitchen

A spacious living room with wood stove

Two chapels

An extensive library

Many cozy reading nooks

Breathtaking views from every window

100 acres of surrounding woods with hiking trails

Eight bedrooms plus dormitory space (for Overnight Use)

Learn More

Call (518) 494-3733 or email to learn more

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