Summer at the Villa


The congregation purchased the cottage “Marillac Villa” in the fall of 1955 and enlarged it so it could accommodate 30 sisters at one time.

Here is a reprint of an article from the September 1956 issue of the Guardian. The Guardian was a magazine created and printed by the Sisters of Providence at the Printing Room at the House of Providence from 1916 to the late 1950s. Proceeds from the sale of the magazine helped support St. Mary’s of the Lake Orphanage.

The Novices of 1956 will go down in history for they were the first to spend a holiday at Marillac Villa, our new summer home on Howe Island. For two summers the Novices had gone there in groups of eight or 10 and enjoyed a few days relaxation at a rented cottage. Last fall we heard with delight that the Community had purchased the cottage and were enlarging it. So it was with eager anticipation that we made preparations for this year’s vacation, when all the novitiate Sisters could be accommodated at the same time.

Our furniture was repaired and furbished; dishes were hunted out of hidden cupboards, washed and packed; and everything was for the take-off on June 26th.

The 18-miles drive over picturesque country was beautiful and included an exciting ride on a ferry. Our excitement increased as we passed the charming little Church of St. Philomena near the Villa. Although we had heard glowing accounts of the improvements made, we were scarcely prepared for the transformation we found. Where there had been a tiny cottage, we saw a long, low, white ranch house with sleeping accommodation for 30, a well-equipped kitchen and a large recreation room with – a fire place.

Marillac Villa, Early 1960s

As soon as we had been assigned our rooms and had deposited our suitcases, we ran down to the water. At the dock we found a brand new row-boat painted white and green, bearing in clear black letters the name “Stella Maris.”

Ten days of wonderful relaxation followed. Every morning we walked up to St. Philomena’s for the 8 o’clock Mass, making our meditation as we walked, with nothing to distract us except the occasional bark of a dog or the “mooing” of a cow. When we had walked home again and prepared breakfast, our appetites were, to say the least, keen.

We said all our prayers of Rule, kept our cottage “ship-shape” and took our turns cooking. And there was plenty of time left for boating, swimming, fishing, shore dinners and just resting under the huge shade tree.

When our 10 days were up, we were sorry to leave our beautiful summer home, but now that we are back at Heathfield and once again engaged in Novitiate duties, we are not a bit sorry – only grateful to have been given such a splendid vacation.

– Sisters Langton and McLaughlin (Novices)

Marillac Villa, 1957  – The Apostolic Delegate gave permission for Marillac Villa to be an extension of the Novitiate and therefore the vacation time spent there was not deducted from the Novices’ Canonical year.