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Archives Year of Faith…A Place for Prayer
Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer

Oct. 17, 2012

By Suzanne Pietropaoli
Staff Writer

Ellenburg Center - Healing prayer.  Eucharistic adoration.  Lection Divina.  First Saturday devotions.  Retreat days.  Conferences.  For the past 40 years, Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer in Ellenburg Center has offered a wide variety of opportunities for men and women seeking to deepen their relationship with God. 

The simplicity of the place bespeaks its origins as a one-room school house, but for the past forty years it has served rather, to borrow from The Rule of St. Benedict, as a school for the love of God.  Pat Hanley, director of the House of Prayer for the past three years, never met its founder, the late Father Joseph P. Trombley—but she certainly shares his vision and his enthusiasm. “I feel like I know him from his written history of this house,” she said.  “It is hard not to be amazed by Father Trombley’s  faith in God’s providence.  He saw the need for a House of Prayer, and trusted that God would bless the effort to establish it.  “Clearly it was God’s work, to have lasted all these years,” she said. “Despite a long and sometimes difficult history, this is a welcoming place and there is great peace here.  I do feel the presence of the Lord in this house.” So do those who come to pray—for an hour, a day, or a longer stay. 

Ms. Hanley points to the deep need that people have to pray and to be prayed for; she explains how both needs are addressed at Our Lady of the Adirondacks. “Every Friday morning, from 10  to noon, we combine Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with Lectio Divina, where we meditate on the Scriptures for the coming Sunday,” she said. “People find that this opens Scripture to them, and that Sunday Mass means so much more,” she said. 
“Both Adoration and Lectio teach us to be quiet in the presence of God,” Ms. Hanley said. “It is so important to be polite to the Lord in prayer, to listen and let him work.”

For those seeking an extended opportunity for meeting the Lord in silence, the House of Prayer is open to anyone wishing to make a private retreat, whether for a day or a week. Days of reflection are also offered at various times, with conferences to help guide individuals in their prayer. 

Recently, through the kindness of Father Bill Edwards, Our Lady of the Adirondacks was able to host Saturday morning Mass in conjunction with the First Saturday devotion;  this in turn led to 25 people making the act of consecration to the blessed Virgin Mary as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort.

Those seeking prayer for healing, or for other needs, find a variety of options at Our Lady of the Adirondacks. 
“If you would like private prayer, we offer individual appointments with our prayer team,” the OLA brochure states.  “Two of our prayer ministers will meet with you for a one-hour session, by appointment only.”

Another option is “soaking prayer,” in which participants relax and soak in the presence of the Lord while the prayer team prays quietly for their written intentions. 

New this year is the intercessory prayer line via email.  One may email a prayer request to olaprayerhouse@gmail.com ; that prayer request, kept confidential by the use of first names only, goes out to 40 intercessors who will pray for the intentions. 

Throughout the year, Our Lady of the Adirondacks offers a  four-day “School of Healing Prayer,” using training materials developed at Christian Healing Ministries by Francis and Judith MacNutt.

In the spring and fall each year, OLA hosts a healing Mass celebrated by Father Doug Decker. In addition to all these opportunities, the House of Prayer is available for use by parishes and other groups looking for a peaceful, pleasant meeting place. 

Pat Hanley would like to see the house used in this way more often than it is at present. “I would really like to promote this, especially to parish groups,” she states.  “We would like to have more priests come by to see what we can offer here , so they  in  might turn encourage their parishioners to come. “I often think that the House of Prayer would be a great place for Confirmation retreats,” she said. “Atmosphere changes everything, and the atmosphere here is one of peace and prayer.” 

The Director also notes that such uses would help to support the House of Prayer, funding for which is always a challenge. “We do not set prices for the use of our space, or for what we do here,” according to Ms. Hanley.  “We depend on the free-will offerings of participants, and the generosity of donors. At present we are really being supported by bequests,” she said. “But they are small and the bills, especially for fuel, are large.  Our future is very much in God’s hands, and in the hands those who may be inspired to help us—or to join us in this apostolate.”

Still, she is doing her part: in the time-honored way of religious houses, Ms. Hanley sells icons on site toward the support of Our Lady of the Adirondacks, and has recently added handcrafts and quilts to the gift shop at the house. 

A Catholic Lay Apostolic Association with juridic status under the Diocese of Ogdensburg, Our lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer is served by a Board of Directors.  Tony Roberts is president, Susan Morrow is vice-president, Rita Breen is secretary and Tide Breen is treasurer.  Other board members include Dr. Ruth Cassin and Bernard Retneiya; Fr. Jack Downs and Fr. Alan Lamica are spiritual directors. 

Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer Association is always open to new members—people willing to volunteer  at the house, to attend events there, and to lend their support through prayer and almsgiving. 
Members and friends receive a seasonal newsletter, “Not By Bread Alone,” with updates about the house, insights into its history and purpose, and a current schedule of events.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come and pray there. In fact, the OLA brochure still cites the words of the prophet Isaiah (56, 7b) that so inspired the founder: “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples, says the Lord God .”  

For Pat Hanley, whose steadfast faith and plain hard work are everywhere in evidence, nothing could be better than having more people make use of the House of Prayer - as they did on Aug. 25 when “Foundation Day” was observed. “The house was filled with people,” Ms. Hanley recalls, “for Father Jack Downs’ conference (Prayer: Meditation and Contemplation), for lunch, and for Bishop LaValley’s celebration of the Eucharist.  “That day was a beautiful reminder of both our history and our purpose,” she said. “The experience of meeting the Lord here is the most important thing that can happen.  Just spending time here with him is the heart of the House of Prayer.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer is encouraged  to stop by at 7270 Star Road, Rt. 190 in Ellenburg Center, email olaprayerhouse@gmail.com, or telephone (518)594-3253 or check the website at www. ourladyoftheadirondackshouseofprayer.org


Photos by Amanda Richey
Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer in Ellenburg Center offers a number of opportunities for prayer including  days of retreat, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, soaking prayer, healing prayer and more. At right, director Pat Hanley works in the gift shop where icons, handcrafts and quilts are available for sale.



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