The Sisters have taken Retreats seriously. In the 1980’s, they didn’t realize what these would develop into. The groups were not so large and not as frequent. Very soon, in the early 1990’s the ACTS movement was growing rapidly, and the Sisters found themselves in need of more beds and meeting space. Plans were begun to fund raise 1.5 million for a big enough building to house at least 50-60 persons. Some of our friends saw the need to get involved with the fund raising, Richard Ruiz, the director of the Hispanic ministry in Kansas City, KS who some of the sisters had worked for in Kansas, sent a young man to help with grant writing. About half of the cost was obtained through grants and the rest was done through simple fund-raising events, raffled a new car donated by another great friend, bingos, Las Vegas parties and a great social event. Emmaus Retreat Center was blessed and opened.
The Retreats became an overwhelming demand, the scheduling became very stressful, the facility was booked for 5 to 6 years in advance. Very soon the Sisters saw themselves in need of another building, possible larger to host both the participant and the organizing team. Again, God’s providential plan was experienced, the Sisters had obtained a good size of land, which they had been advised not to sell because someday, it was going to be very valuable for them. Developers were now becoming very interested in land in the great hill country. Several developers were very interested, and with the advice and help of Richard Ruiz found and was able to make a great deal with a prominent developer, who was not only interested in all the land, but gave the Sisters several bequests. One very significant gift was a 10-acre piece of frontage land on Culebra Road. The sale of the original land was the bulk of the construction of the second 92 bed Retreat Center now called Holy Ground Retreat Center.
The Sisters host, cook and form part of the cleaning crew for the retreat centers. Through the years, they have found the need to have lay helpers.