Frequently Asked Questions
What is a "retreat" center?
Unlike resorts, which are designed to help you escape life, retreat centers exist to help you engage life in a deeper way. Retreat centers provide spaces for those needing a break from the busyness of the world to rest and reconnect with God, nature and themselves. There are many different types of "retreats" - group or individual, silent or preached, directed or self-guided.
Are you open to the public?
Yes, Our Lady of the Pines is open to the public year-round! Our Gift Shop is located in the retreat center lobby and is open Monday through Friday 9am-4pm (hours vary on weekends). Our walking paths and grounds are also open to the public during daylight hours. When you walk the grounds, please stay at least 20 feet away from all other buildings out of respect for the Sisters who live next door and our Hermitage guests. Additionally, we ask that you do not disturb the wildlife that live on the property.
How long have you been a retreat center?
Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center was officially established in 1962. In 2008, the Sisters of Mercy renewed their commitment to Northwest Ohio and the retreat ministry by engaging in major renovations of the facility. In the summer of 2009, the newly renovated building reopened with the capabilities we have today.
How old is the building?
Our building will be 150 years-old in 2024! It was built in 1874 by prominent Fremont jeweler, Lewis Leppelman. The family lived here until the death of Mr. Leppelman in 1886. In 1893, Mr. Charles Green purchased the estate naming it Evergreen Hill, but after just a few short years Mrs. Green got sick and the family left the home for California to seek treatment, leaving the house to stand vacant for many years, drawing in vandals and thieves which resulted in the loss of the beautiful chandeliers. Upon the return of Mrs. Green to good health, the family came back to the property and began to open the house up to the sunshine, restoring the home to its former glory. The Green family sold the house in 1925.
Do the Sisters still live here?
The Sisters of Mercy purchased the estate in 1925 and turned the building into their home for the Sisters of Mercy Novitiate. In 1970, Saint Bernardine Convent was constructed next door to better accommodate the aging Sisters. Several Sisters in the community continued to live at The Pines, overseeing the retreat ministry, until the last moved out in 2008.
Do I have to have to be Catholic?
While the Sisters of Mercy is a Catholic organization, you do not need to be Catholic to come to The Pines! We host groups of all different religions and want our retreat center to be welcoming to all faith backgrounds and traditions.
How many people can you accommodate overnight?
For each overnight attendee to have their own room, we can accommodate 38 individuals (28 standard rooms, and 10 select rooms). You may also reserve the hermitages, if available, which will add an additional 2 spaces allowing for a total of 40 individuals. Should you wish to utilize each bed available, we can add an additional 8 spaces (by adding 1 bed each to 3 of the rooms and adding an additional dorm room for up to 5 people), allowing for 48 available bed spaces, or 50 if you wish to and/or are able to utilize the aforementioned hermitages. In the event you have attendees who are willing to share bed space, we can add 6 additional retreatants, resulting in the absolute maximum capacity of 52* overnight spaces available in the Retreat Center, or 54 spaces if the hermitages are available to be reserved.
*Please note, to reach max capacity of 52 we will need to turn 3 of our conference/meeting spaces into bedrooms.
What types of services do you offer?
We primarily offer space for groups looking for a place to host their own retreat, as well as providing our own "in-house" retreat programing throughout the year. A list of our programs can be found here and are open to the public for registration.