Albert Juergens: Creating a Contemplative Legacy

First deacon’s retreat at St. Albert’s
First deacon’s retreat at St. Albert’s

Albert Juergens: Creating a Contemplative Legacy

 

Artist and inventor Albert Juergens recently donated his Catskills estate to the Dominican Friars. After turning an outbuilding into small chapel, the Friars held their first retreat at St. Albert’s Retreat Center, named for the 13th-century Dominican Doctor of the Church and teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. We extend our gratitude to Mr. Juergens and all our donors for helping us contemplate Christ and share the fruits of our contemplation with a world hungry for Truth.

 

God works in many ways. In 1937 my parents bought a small farm with a house dating from 1855, a barn, and 34 acres of land as a place for their children to spend summer vacations. The house had no indoor plumbing, and the only water was supplied to a cast iron sink in the kitchen from a spring some quarter mile up the mountainside above the house.

As the years went by, changes and additions were made. In 1987 my wife, Lore, and I moved to a house in the farm orchard, which we had built piecemeal over the years to accommodate our four children, their spouses, and our 19 grandchildren. Starting about three years ago, Lore had some unfortunate falls, which led to a change in our plans to live out our lives in Huntersfield. Since our children and grandchildren were scattered to the four winds, there was no logical family member to inherit the farm.

We had always referred to the farm being in God’s country. Mountains seem closer to God. It became my intention to return the farm effectively to God. Last year, we learned about the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph. They struck us as smiling, energetic, and devoted young men who dedicate their lives to doing God’s work. Since many of the friars are carrying out their mission in New York, a city of high intensity, it seemed logical to gift the farm to the Friars as a place for contemplation and renewal. Logos and the Spirit provided the solution.