Marygrove Retreat Center
"Come away with me into a desert place . . and rest awhile." (Mark 6:31)
Located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

A Little History of Marygrove

orignal building In 1884, Edward LaMotte came from Canada to Garden, Michigan, to farm the peninsula. He had eight daughters and one son. Somewhere around the turn of the century, he started doctoring skin cancers. From natural ingredients, LaMotte would prepare a powerful plaster treatment that would be applied to the afflicted areas. The mixture would burn through the cancer, often making the patient so uncomfortable that they couldn't sleep at night. To conclude the treatment, a healing salve was applied to the wound. Although no scientific evidence was collected at the time, many people tell of the many successes LaMotte achieved in treating cancer. Stories of his success began to circulate until patients from all over began to present themselves to "Dr. LaMotte" (as people began calling him).

LaMotte established his first cancer clinic down the hill in the village of Garden where the bank building now stands. He became so busy that in the early 1920s, he built a new cancer hospital, which is the main part of the Marygrove facility. There were no trained nurses or doctors on the staff, just local people who cared for, cleaned and cooked for the patients.

What was the cancer treatment? No one quite knows. "The cure" was a closely guarded family secret. It has been said that the cure was lost with LaMotte's death.

dedication of Marygrove After he died, the building became an apartment building until it was purchased in 1947 by philanthropist Catherine Boniface for the Diocese of Marquette. The renowned Bishop Noa dedicated the building on June 29, 1948, as the Marygrove Retreat Center.

First to use Marygrove were the women of the Cooks, Fayette and Nahma Catholic parishes. Little did they realize the impact this would make on Christians of all faiths long into the future. July of 1948 brought the next group of women from Escanaba. Thus started the humble beginning of a growing legacy.

May Crowning On May 20, 1951 Marygrove Day honored Mary, the Blessed Mother of God, with an outdoor crowning of her statue. The statue and grotto remains today, providing a place for visitors to reflect while surrounded in a beautiful setting.

first addition In 1960, a large addition was constructed onto the back of Marygrove. A chapel, dining room, retreat master's suite and seven guestrooms were added, along with an expansion of the kitchen. In 1974, the chapel was renovated to respond to the evolving needs of the liturgy which was revised during the Second Vatican Council. It was at that time that part of the chapel was made into a multipurpose conference room.

The next expansion came in 1990 with the demolition of the Retreat House Director's residence and the construction of an elevator for the retreat center, a new Director's residence and a new entrance lobby. adding on

It would be difficult to adequately describe the number and varieties of retreats that have been offered at Marygrove. In its early years, Marygrove was the home of many women's retreats, Cana retreats for Married couples, some men's retreats and retreats for high school students. In 1974 Marygrove began to host Cursillo Weekends for Catholics, which was expanded to include other Christians for their own "Non-Roman" Cursillo Weekends in 1980. Marriage Encounter Weekends also were a significant addition to the Marygrove schedule. After the Catholic Diocese of Marquette implemented the Renew Program in the 1980s, Marygrove began hosting Parish Pilgrimage Retreats for Catholic Parishes. To this day, Parish Retreats are the most attended retreats offered at Marygrove.

In very recent years, Marygrove has been undergoing a "freshening-up." The grounds have been cleaned up, painting and repairs have been accomplished all over the Marygrove property. Inside, the guestrooms and halls, the bookstore and gift shop, the conference room projection system, the electrical system throughout the building and parts of the water system have all been renovated since 2005.

Marygrove has seen a number of changes over the years, but remains a center faith renewal and reinforcement, a place of peace and blessings being offered to those that enter its doors. Come, and join the thousands that have made Marygrove their place of renewal.

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