Newfoundland, Canada
View from the hermitage

Who We Are

Saint Mary’s Place of Solitude and Prayer is a diocesan hermitage where both men and women  are welcomed to live the eremitic life.

The hermits make a simple vow to live the eremitic life which has been a tradition in the Christian Community since third century.

The eremitic life:

  • is rooted in the experience of being captivated by the Mystery and is a response to this experience.
  • is a gift in and for the world.
  • is solitary and simple.
  • is a journey of interiority.

View The Inner Journey

The Vision: Saint Mary's Place of Solitude and Prayer

To witness the primacy of the Sacred in all of life.

To create for guests an environment which is welcoming and nurturing.

To offer a limited ministry:

  • Spiritual Direction
  • Retreats
  • Workshops for Spiritual Growth and Development


In 1958, Margaret MacKinnon willed her family property to the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. George’s, (now known as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador) to establish a monastic presence. In July 1990, to honor her desire, St. Mary’s Place of Solitude and Prayer was established.

Sheila O’Handley and Nick O’Keeffe have made public commitment in the Church to live the hermit life, supporting themselves through weaving, pottery, and gardening.

In the Fall of 2004, an Association of Friends of Saint Mary’s was established, consisting of individuals and couples who wished to support the contemplative ministry of the hermitage. In October 2005, the association became incorporated and is now legally known as Association of Friends of St. Mary’s Place of Solitude and Prayer Inc.

Should you wish to become a member of the Association of Friends, please contact us at .


Guest's Comment

“The reverence for life and spirit here refreshed me. I am thankful that I found this place of solitude and prayer for I needed it. I had forgotten how to pray, and the first book I opened I found my way out of my forgetfulness. The view from the windows here are wide and I needed to widen my vision.”
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