All operations at the Holy Redeemer Retreat House have been ordered to cease as the facility will be closing down following heavy damage suffered during the passage of Hurricane Maria last September.
Fr Rodney Olive, CSsR, Director and Religious Superior of the Retreat House, confirmed to Dominica News Online that the Provincial Council of the Redemptorists, the Catholic religious order that built and ran the facility, has decided to close it in the wake of the devastating hurricane.
“The Redemptorist staff of the Holy Redeemer Retreat House was informed by the Provincial Council (Redemptorist Missionaries—Baltimore Province) that the council has decided to close the Holy Redeemer Retreat House,” he said.
“We have been instructed to cease all operations and ongoing repairs immediately.”
He stated that the Provincial Council in the United States will be exploring all options concerning the Holy Redeemer facility and property.
Fr Rodney explained that there were three reasons for the closure: “The rising costs to rebuild the Holy Redeemer Retreat House…The operating costs of running the retreat house, both present and future, and the likelihood of hurricanes, like Maria, destroying the retreat house again.”
The Holy Redeemer Retreat House was the vision of Fr Charles Vermeulen CSsR, from Belgium, who saw the need for a Catholic retreat house in Dominica. At the 1985 Redemptorist General Chapter in Rome, he began to collect money for the project from Redemptorists in wealthier countries.
A property at the Ridgefield Estate in Eggleston was offered by Clem Dupigny, and Fr Vermeulen began the project that was to become the Holy Redeemer Retreat House. Fr Charles died on December 4, 2016, at the age of 85.
After its official opening 28 years ago, the facility quickly became well known in Dominica, serving not only the people of the island but a number of religious and lay people from neighbouring countries.