Sacred Hearts Retreat Center
in Wareham is closed


WAREHAM, Mass. — A longtime fixture in the Fall River Diocese, the Sacred Hearts Retreat Center, located at 226 Great Neck Road in Wareham, was closed this summer after 76 years of ministry.

In a recent newsletter mailing sent out from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts - United States Province entitled “In Thanksgiving for the Past,” the closure of the site where many diocesan retreats, including Quo Vadis Days, was made known.

The closure was celebrated with a final Mass on June 28 — appropriately enough, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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“‘Celebrating’ closure may seem a strange juxtaposition of words, but a celebration it was — even if bittersweet,” the newsletter reported. “The community who gathered for the Eucharist was a mix of Wareham neighbors, parishioners from our (Sacred Hearts) parishes, people who have made and given retreats (there) over the years and, of course, our (Sacred Hearts) Brothers and Sisters.”

The 118-acre Sacred Hearts Retreat and Spirituality Center property was located on Widow’s Cove, part of Buzzards Bay, at the very tip of the west end of the Cape Cod Canal. A peaceful locale, fitting for a retreat or Spiritual experience, a casual walk along the wooded paths or down to the waterfront by the boathouse would reveal a variety of trees and wildlife. In fact, 95 acres of the sprawling property was delegated as open space and can never be developed.

In 1943, the Congregation of Sacred Hearts bought the land as a seminary. It operated as a seminary until the 1960s, when it became a novitiate for incoming members of the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts. In the 1980s, the property then became a retreat center and has continued to operate as one ever since.

Owned and maintained by the Sacred Hearts congregation, the retreat facility was a haven of contemplation and prayer for people who wished to reflect upon their lives through prayer, solitude, Spiritual direction and education.

The central three-story Manor House (above), which would accommodate up to 52 people, also contained a library, parlor, conference room, chapel, gift shop, and dining facilities.

Also located on the grounds was a Youth Facility with 41 bunks and nine beds, with a capacity for another 50. This space had its own recreation room, meeting hall, kitchen and eating area, chapel as well as a cottage for youth retreat staff.

“There is so much to be thankful for — the many lives touched by the love of Jesus’ heart over the 76 years, during which Wareham has been both a house of formation and a retreat center,” the newsletter added. “There were so many people to be thanked, not least, those who came to Wareham at important or rather ordinary moments on their Spiritual journeys, the neighbors and friends who have supported the ministry there for so many years, and all the (Sacred Hearts) who have served there.”

One of the longtime directors at the Sacred Hearts Retreat Center was Father Stanley J. Kolasa, SS.CC., who died in 2016.

“Special thanks goes to Sister Claire Bouchard, SS.CC., who served there for 12 years and who, since Father Kolasa’s death, has been the director. More than a director, Sister Claire has been the heart and soul of Wareham these last years. Her ministry has been a perfect example of Sister-Brother collaboration.”


© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts