25th Anniversary of Our Philadelphia Peace Hermitages

Sharing our home as a quiet place for prayer, solitude and reflection is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters and our Associates around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.

At our North America Headquarters in Philadelphia, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our Peace Hermitage Program on Sunday, October 9, 2011.

Sister Jane Burns began our Peace Hermitages in the mid-1980s, when she realized that she was being called into a life with more solitude. Several small, simple cottages and a lovely stone chapel are available to individuals seeking a place for quiet prayer and reflection. They are located in a wooded grove on our grounds in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia.

Sister Jane and Sister Edna Villafuerte, now Director of the Peace Hermitages, have organized a celebratory brunch on October 9th for past hermitage retreatants, Sunday worshipers, and Medical Mission Sisters and Associates. Kathryn Voit, a poet, and Father John McNamee, a city priest and author, will be featured, along with local musicians.

Bordered by two large parks, the hermitages are ideal for getting in touch with nature. Guests bring their own food and linens and stay for as long as they wish. They have an opportunity for Eucharist, and for communal evening prayer, if they choose. People of all religious traditions are welcomed.

“The wooded grounds are filled with deer and rabbits, and in summer the twilight air is alive with crickets and fireflies,” wrote a reviewer in Delaware Valley magazine. “There are trees as far as the eye can see, and the air smells of freshly-cut grass.”

Describing the hermitage guests in The Other Side magazine, Sister Jane explained, “Many of them work with the poor, the homeless, or for peace … people of all sorts share this solitude, and I find that the more varied the people, the better.” She added, “To get in touch with the silence of God is necessary for everyone.”

For more information on our Peace Hermitages, please e-mail: or phone 215-342-2039.

October 1, 2011