Stella Maris
stella maris retreat

The 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 St. Francis 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 the Third Franciscan Order of Syracuse, New York

The Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order of Syracuse are a community of vowed women religious rooted in the charism of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi and committed to further the reign of God through prayer, contemplation, witness and ministry. We strive to make Christ visible in our compassionate and joyful response to all people. We challenge ourselves, as visionary women of the Church, to a creative personal and communal presence in the world and to an openness to risk-taking as we accept God's invitation to be instruments of Christ's peace and loving servants to those in need.