mansion that is now Stella Maris Retreat and Conference Center was
designed by Stanford White, built in New York City and brought to
and assembled on Skaneateles Lake in 1879. It was originally the
summer home of Frederick Roosevelt, cousin of Theodore Roosevelt.
In 1945 it was acquired by Burns Lyman Smith of
the Smith Corona Typewriter Company who gave it to his sister, Flora
Bernice Smith. She sold it in 1952 to the sisters of the third Franciscan Order
of Syracuse, and after some renovation it was blessed as Stella Maris
- "Star of the Sea" by Bishop Walter A. Foery in 1954.
It began as a retreat house for Catholic women and
over the years has expanded to include men and women of other denominations
and to act as a conference center for various groups desiring a
peaceful space of meetings, retreats, gatherings, etc.
Stella Maris is owned and operated by the Sisters
of St. Francis who, along with a dedicated staff and volunteers,
serve the needs of all who come here desiring spiritual growth,
renewal and peace.
The Mission of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities is a congregation of 480 vowed women religious whose Franciscan spirit motivates them to continue God’s work and respond to God’s people wherever there is a need. Together, the sisters serve in 14 U.S. states/territories as well as in Peru and Africa.
For more than 150 years, the Sisters of St. Francis have served the people of God with vision, compassion, reverence and dignity. Together, they serve in the fields of education, health care, mission work, retreat/prayer ministry, social services, parish ministry, as well as child and adult day care.
Through their Partners in Franciscan Ministries, the Sisters of St. Francis have sponsored 22 of their own ministries as a means of furthering their mission of service for years to come. Discover the many ways you can journey with us.