On Friday, September 28th, the Dominican Sisters of Hope hosted an afternoon of celebration to commemorate the preservation of 34 acres of the 61-acre property in Ossining. The property will continue to be owned and managed by the Sisters as a retreat and conference center. Westchester Land Trust will hold the conservation easement, which prohibits further development and protects significant ecological resources, forever.
Sister Lorelle Elcock, O.P., Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, works with Westchester Land Trust to draft the land conservation easement in 2017.
“As the holder of this easement, Westchester Land Trust now assumes the awesome responsibility to protect this land in perpetuity,” said Kara Whelan, Vice President of Westchester Land Trust. “In this way, we have joined together with the Dominican Sisters. We have become stewards alongside them and we share their faith in the future and hope for our planet.”
The celebration was emceed by Kacey Morabito Grean, morning DJ at radio station WHUD and retreat facilitator at Mariandale. Dozens of community members including New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Westchester County Deputy Executive Ken Jenkins, Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia, and Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity were in attendance. The afternoon began with an opening prayer led by the Dominican Sisters followed by Ossining Village Mayor Victoria Gearity and the town of Ossining declaring September 28th as a Day of Hope.
Liz Feldman of the Town of Ossining (left) and Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity (right) both presented the Dominican Sisters of Hope with proclamations for the Day of Hope in Ossining.
Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins gives a speech at the Sept 28 press conference announcing the easement.
“Since 2011, we have been blessed to have a number of people help us focus on this core value and ultimately commit to this land conservation easement,” says Lorelle Elcock, O.P., Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. “Our hope is that, in the future, this land will be a source of healing for body, mind, and spirit, as well as a place of refuge for the wildlife.”
Sister Lorelle Elcock, O.P., Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, signs the land conservation easement along with Westchester Land Trust President Lori Ensinger.
The sisters unveiled a map delineating the conservation easement boundaries and signed a copy of the conservation easement. The afternoon closed with a prayer followed by refreshments and tours of the land.
We are deeply grateful to all who made our celebration possible and who attended to celebrate with us!
A group of the Dominican Sisters of Hope stands outside on the preserved land.