ALLOUEZ — Mounting operational expenses and dwindling retreat registrations are to blame for the closing of Holy Name Retreat House, according to Tammy Basten, chancellor of the Green Bay Diocese.
The diocese announced Jan. 16 that Holy Name, located on Chambers Island in Door County, will close. It will continue to maintain the property and no plans have yet been made to sell it.
In a press release, the diocese said that studies have been conducted and initiatives were launched over the last five years to keep the retreat center afloat. “Unfortunately, the attempts to boost the number of retreatants and maintain the property have proven nonsustainable,” said the release.
“As we look toward the new evangelization, we need to re-evaluate how we deliver the traditional retreat experience,” said Bishop David Ricken. “Over the last few years, we have seen a movement toward more parish-based participation in retreats and we are fortunate that we have many regional, year-round retreat centers that can meet their needs.”
News of the retreat house closing comes on the heels of last month’s closing of Monte Alverno Retreat and Spirituality Center in Appleton, which operated for 80 years under the sponsorship of the Capuchin Franciscans.
Holy Name opened as a diocesan retreat house in the summer of 1951. Comprised of approximately 70 acres of island property, the retreat house was gifted to the diocese by George Baudhuin. Throughout most of its 62-year history, Holy Name attracted thousands of people from around the state and beyond to Chambers Island for retreats lasting several days to one week. Retreats were held each year from May to September.
In an interview with The Compass, Basten said closing the retreat house was not a pleasant decision. “Everybody enjoys the place. It’s just that we’re not getting the number of retreatants we need to make it a sustainable property.”
The trend in retreats today, said Basten, is for one-day retreats held in parishes or at other retreat centers in the diocese.