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History Jesuit Retreat House since 1961

We have been a retreat house since 1961 but have an interesting history before that time.


Jackson and Ruth Swift settle the land. Henry C. Morgan constructs sawmill and steamboat dock and founds the community of Perryville.

Economic forces doom the lumber business and Perryville becomes a ghost town.


Two brothers from Chicago, EC and EH Fahrney, purchased the property. EC Fahrney constructed a 30 room summer home on the estate he called "Fahrnwald" which means "Fahrney's Woods." The Fahrney's made their fortune from the family's production of "Alpen Krauter", an old country doctor's remedy that was said to cure a wide assortment of ailments.

Mr. John Vette, Fahrney's nephew, inherited the property.

Vette rented the property to the Milton H. Berry Foundation. They established a school for handicapped children, but it was not successful.

Berry Foundation sought a buyer for the property. In December of that year it accepted a $65,000 purchase offer from the Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus

Became the Jesuit Novitiate. Novices came from Florissant, Missouri. A 42 room dormitory was built. It is called Manresa, named after a city near Barcelona and the place of origin of the Spiritual Exercises. The dorm off the breezeway is called LaStorta and is named after a city near Rome, and the place of missionary vision of St. Ignatius. Loyola is named after the birthplace of St. Ignatius and is the building where the offices, lounge, dining room, staff residence, etc. are located.

The Jesuit Retreat House sign went up and the first men's retreat took place in February. The first women's retreat was held in 1968.

Chapel finished. Corpus was a gift of the Holy Week retreatants.


50th Jubilee Celebration.


For a more indepth history of the Jesuit Retreat House click here.


Approximately 2000 retreatants and other guests come each year.

Jesuits are the largest religious order of the Catholic Church.

Serving in 112 nations on 6 continents, the Jesuits' number 20,000. They observe vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius:

The phrase "Spiritual Exercises" takes in all the formal ways we have of making contact with God such as meditation, contemplation, vocal prayer, devotions, examination of conscience, and so on. Just as physical exercises are good for the overall good health of the body, what we call Spiritual Exercises are good for increasing openness to the movement of the Spirit, for helping to bring to light the darkness of sinfulness and sinful tendencies within ourselves, and for strengthening and supporting us in the effort to respond ever more faithfully to the love of God. (Excerpt from: The Text of St. Ignatius)