Video by danedem
A spiritual hike along tree fern lined paths. Creeping myrtle with periwinkle blossoms greet you as you walk to the chapel.
The Durwards fell in love with the glen, and they bought the land from a blacksmith who lived there. The Durwards called their home “Auld Geordies”, but later referred to it simply as “the glen”. While living in the glen, they made a living truck farming, selling their fruits and vegetables in local markets.
The Durwards constructed a house on top of a knoll on the property. In 1866, the family built a small chapel so that Mrs. Durward did not have to walk so far to church. One of her sons was ordained there. Later they added a studio to the buildings. After the chapel, known as “St. Mary’s of the Pines”, burned in 1923, it was restored by the Madison council of the Knights of Columbus in the late 1920s. The Durward family sold the land to the Roman Catholic Order of St. Camillus in 1932. The order established a seminary on the land, where it trained priests beginning in the 1930s. The order’s primary building was a 75-foot stone and log novitiate, built entirely by hand. The buildings were expanded in the 1960s to accommodate a conference and retreat center. The glen was sold to The College of Saint Mary Magdalen in 2007, which owned the land for four years before selling it to Durward’s Glen Our Lady of the Rosary Group. The group now uses the property as a retreat center, and for weddings and other group events. (excerpt from Wikipedia)
The property is located off of Hwy 33. You take Hwy X east until you reach Durwards Glen Road. Take a right and travel for about 6 miles until you reach Leisch Rd. Take a right and the parking lot is on the right at the bottom of the hill.
There is a path the meanders through a wooded area. Along the way there are markers containing small carvings of the signs of the cross. As you make your way up the hill among the maples and oaks you will find a creeping myrtle patch. In the summer the blossoms peek out from behind the dark green leaves. In the clearing at the top of the hill is the chapel and cemetery. Large tombstones with simple carving are lined among large elaborately carved religious statues.
A small chapel sits on the crest of the hill. Behind the chapel is a path down to the glen. It can be slippery so watch your step. The Durward cemetery is behind the chapel along the path. The old markers are interesting and allow one to peak into the history of the family. At the edge of the glen you will find stairs the take you down to the stream level.
A rock lines stream cut through the rock thousands of years ago to create the glen. White pines tower over your head. It is breath taking in the spring with all the green poking through.
A pond and bridge great you with a drinking fountain. Just past the pond is a garden of historic buildings and quiet garden nooks to find spiritual solace.