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July 19, 2023

Halfway between Malone and Plattsburgh, on Route 190, sits Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer, “a place people come to hear God.”

Sarah Anderson, president of the house’s board of directors, explained that Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer offers a library and reading room, a prayer chapel containing Jesus in the Eucharist, a large open area for Mass and gatherings, and areas for rest and prayer both inside and outside.

“It’s a place that grows on you,” Anderson said. “It’s grown on everyone who walks in. It’s something special.”

Right now, because of volunteer limitations, visitors must make appointments to enter the house. The facility is also available for retreats and events.

“We can work with the hosts to ensure all of the needs are met,” Anderson said. “We have a kitchen here, and we have a great group of volunteers.”

On August 5, the House of Prayer will celebrate its annual Foundation Day (see the box above). This year’s event will coincide with First Saturday Devotions, which are observed monthly at the house.

The house is also looking for volunteers to increase open hours and availability. For more information, contact Anderson at 518-534-9976.


The history of ‘a house of prayer for all people’

Submitted by Sarah Anderson
Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer

“For some time, slowly, Our Lord has been building in hearts and minds of people here, as elsewhere in the Church, the desire to form Christian Community for the purpose of prayer and spiritual renewal, as well as a sense of mission i.e. service to others in a very simple, direct way. With the Rising of Jesus in our hearts through contacts with Madonna House, Combermere, Ont. and with the developments of Cursilllo, Marriage Encounter and more recently the Charismatic Renewal in our areas, these desires or movements of God’s Love in us has led to a definite out-growth of what we call Our Lady of the Adirondacks.”

Thus begins what Father Joseph P. Trombley calls a “sketchy history of who we are and what God seems to be doing with this small band of people, who He has called together for the purpose of operating a House of Prayer in our Diocese.”

The article was written shortly after the incorporation as an Apostolic Lay Association, permission granted for such by Bishop Stanislaus J. Branza on August 24, 1976 following the departure of Madonna House staff back home to Combermere, Ont. The Madonna House staff had been operating the House of Prayer for three years, since the fall of 1973, and their departure left Father Trombley writing, “Humbly we stand together before the Father and listen for His will – what to do next, always in obedience of love for His Church.”

This is a question that has been asked many times in the history of this little hidden treasure of the North Country. Over the past five decades, there has been an ebb and flow of intense activity, punctuated by times of uncertainty as residential staff and volunteers come and go, as dynamic programs in the Church wax and wane and rejuvenate yet again, and as one generation gives over to the next.

Isn’t that life…just plain, wonderful, awesome, ordinary life?

Periods of stability interrupted by change when questions of “What next, Lord?” arise.

Our Lord’s love and presence do not change, however.

As Father Joe wrote “the value of prayer and contemplation is NOT an ‘additive’, but the very heart of our lived faith and conversion and the source of our success as witnesses in God’s Kingdom whether be priest, religious or lay members of the Church. These houses [of prayer] are to teach us that we MUST WASTE TIME with God if we are to do His SERVICE well in any form.” (Emphasis from Father Trombley).

Yes! We thank God for this little House of Prayer in our midst where the hectic pace of this world just falls away in His Presence.

Here we are in the Summer of 2023, Father Joseph has long been with His Lord and Savior as are many who worked diligently with him, and we are still humbly asking, “What Next, Lord?” while trusting that it is He who will send the necessary people to guide its efforts to be a resource for the entire diocese to use to listen and “do whatever He tells you.” We persevere in prayer, and we dream that someday a small lay or religious community or volunteer house director will take up residence if approved by Bishop LaValley and the House’s Board of Directors.

These were the perennial dreams of Father Trombley and the other original workers as well, which were answered in due course with the right people for the right time.

Meanwhile volunteers are always welcome and can be flexibly used depending upon the wishes, time, and talent.

We work so that Our Lady of the Adirondacks remains a House of Prayer which “extends hospitality to all in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ as shown to us by our Blessed Mother Mary.” The House continues to accommodate small day groups for retreats and meetings and can host overnights for up to seven persons. It houses a rich spiritual library, a small and large chapel, pretty grounds, and a deeply restful environment. Please call 518-534-9976 for more to schedule a visit. For my House will be a house of prayer for all people.” Isaiah 56:7. Come and taste the goodness of the Lord!

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