The Christus Vincit Foundation is seeking to assist a Catholic organization or order in acquiring the Jesuit Center, formerly the Novitiate of St. Issac Jogues, in Wernersville, Pennsylvania.
The Jesuit Center is located nine miles west of Reading, PA, sitting on 250 acres of beautiful rolling hills, planned roads, walkways, terraces, grottos, and cloister gardens. The main facility has 85 private bedrooms, a large dining room, a small private dining room, conference rooms, small meeting rooms, and several small parlors for group meetings. Please view the photos below.
Since transitioning from a house of formation to a retreat center, the Center has hosted RCIA groups, parish council retreats, training sessions for parish staff and volunteers, adult education classes, bereavement groups, parish senior citizen groups, high school Kairos retreats, and more. A portion of the house is now home to Jesuits who are retired or still active in the community as hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, helping out in a parish ministry, or as Spiritual Growth staff members of the Jesuit Center.
History of the Jesuit Center
The buildings and grounds of the Jesuit Community near Wernersville were the gift of Nicholas and Genevieve Brady, close friends and benefactors of the Jesuit Community of the Maryland – New York Province. Nicholas was one of the great financial powers of his day and used his great wealth for philanthropy. Devout Catholics, Mr. and Mrs. Brady took an active interest in the planning and design of the new center.
Nothing was spared in the construction of the Wernersville facility. The Novitiate Building was designed by the noted Boston architecture firm of McGinnis and Walsh in the English Renaissance style. Maginnis and Walsh were among the premier ecclesiastical designers of their day. Funded by Mr. and Mrs. Brady at an estimated cost of $2 million, the Novitiate featured carved oak, marble, coffered ceilings, and ornate details executed by European and local craftsmen.
At that time the building was going to be called the St. Stanislaus Novitiate, because St. Stanislaus is the patron Saint of novices. However, Nicholas and Genevieve Brady were well aware that the beatification had begun for Isaac Jogues in 1880, and at their request the name was changed to the Novitiate of Blessed Isaac Jogues, to honor one of the North American martyrs slain in New York in 1646. The Canonization Ceremony for the new Saints occurred June 29, 1930, which coincided with the opening of the Novitiate when “Blessed” was changed to “Saint.” The Novitiate was completed in May of 1930.