Monday, May 13, 2013

A Million Dollars An Acre

Now that the prospective buyer of Mount Manresa Jesuit Retreat House has been identified as one of Staten Island's most prolific developers, the key question is: What will become of the iconic 15.4-acre property astride the Staten Island Expressway? Savo Brothers, the Prince's Bay development company that's in contract to buy the site for $15 million, isn't saying just yet. Neither is the New York Province of the Society of Jesus, the property owner. Representatives of both parties declined comment Thursday, citing a confidentiality clause in their contract agreement. But their silence concerns many who fear that the site, adjacent to narrow Fingerboard Road, will be glutted with townhouses or other dense development. 
Link (here) to SILive


Qualis Rex said...

Not sure why anyone would "fear" the site will be developed with town-houses, projects or tenements. It's just land, and it's not as if the Jesuits are donating it to be a wild-life preserve. They are in it for the money (not to say it won't be put to some good use, most likely to care for their ever-aging members). But unless they discover some ancient Indian remains (not beyond the realm of possibilities) or endangered species of rodent nesting on the grounds, whatever happens, happens as far as what the Savo brothers have in mind. That's how capitalism works...and the Jesuits are the willing participants/beneficiaries here.

TonyD said...

I've read and re-read this blog entry about six times. Each time, I've been tempted to respond - but waited. How do I put the response into words?

This action by the Jesuits is both wrong and bad. It is bad for the Church. It is bad for the Jesuits. It is bad for society. It reflects poor judgment.

Why would the Jesuits allow themselves to be involved in such a transaction?

There was a recent study about how markets erode moral values - but that is no excuse for the Jesuits. (

Don't the Jesuits care about the actual values of their community? Don't the Jesuits care about their neighbor's true values? Don't the Jesuits care about the poor role model that they are creating?

Qualis Rex said...

Short answer: no.

Anonymous said...

I sadly agree with the comments above.

First of all, I don't understand how the Jesuits could walk away from their own history like this...

This was the first and oldest retreat house in the US. It has 100 years of history and hundreds of thousand of people have visited this spiritual center and grow closer to God.

The Jesuits walked away from it all, and turned their back on the community they were a part of for 100 years.

If you ever walked the property (of course it is closed to the public now) there are stones, benches, memorials with the names of all the people who donated and cherished this location as a place for peace.For all this time, every decision, every change that was made to the Mount Manresa property was done in consideration of the beautiful landscape. It was the land and its beauty which attracted the Jesuits to purchase the "Fox Hill Villa" in 1911.

The Jesuits have every right to move on, and do what they need to do to continue their ministry. But they also have a moral responsibility to protect those they left behind.

I am very upset, disappointed and discouraged on how this was handled. I am unable to sleep or focus on anything else but the uncertainty this has created in my life and the community in which I live.

I must now come to terms with my feelings about the Church and what it really means to be a part of it based on this horrible experience.

Now, along with hoping for possibility of discovering some ancient Indian remains or endangered species of rodent nesting on the grounds as Qualis Rex suggests... I pray for
for a miracle. Even though the Jesuits left Mount Manresa, I believe that God still lives there (and is not interested in moving into a Savo townhouse.)

I hope and pray He will protect the community and will give us the courage and the strength to save our beloved Mount Manresa.