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Apostolic Oblates Margaret Mathew, left, Jessi Kary and Monica Hejkal in front of the farmhouse they hope to replace with a new home. Photo courtesy of Greg Weiss.

Apostolic Oblates to build new home

The consecrated Catholic women who oversee the Pro Sanctity Retreat Center near Elkhorn are praying for an outpouring of generosity in their quest to build a more suitable home and formation center.

A pair of online videos have been released promoting the work of Omaha’s members of the Institute of the Apostolic Oblates, their Pro Sanctity retreat center and the $1 million fund drive to replace their four-bedroom, 1890 farmhouse along Nebraska Highway 31.

Structural issues in the farmhouse make it more cost-effective to build anew, said Jessi Kary, who serves as Pro Sanctity’s U.S. national director and the moderator and formation directress for the Oblate community at the retreat center.

The group has raised $350,000 so far, she said.

When the Oblates bought the property in 1991, "they expected to build a house within five years," said Kary, one of five women currently living in the farmhouse. "It’s providential we didn’t, because we wouldn’t have seen the need we have now that long ago."

She said the old house also lacks proper space for the women sent to Omaha from across the country to discern whether they're called to join the Oblates, a movement founded by Bishop William Giaquinta in Rome in 1950.

It’s one of three associations founded by Giaquinta – along with the Institute of Apostolic Sodales for diocesan priests and the Social Animators for laymen – to support the Pro Sanctity Movement he began in 1947 to help Catholics live out Christ’s universal call to holiness.

The proposed retreat center residence would have 11 bedrooms, including separate but connected apartments for aging members of the Oblates and women in the group's year-long discernment process.

Four rooms could be rented when they are vacant to visitors who want to make individual retreats, Kary said. The home would include a chapel, kitchen and laundry room.

Greg Weiss, a member of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Omaha, made the videos out of gratitude for the spiritual benefits his family has received through events at Pro Sanctity, which serves about 5,000 people a year with retreats, a summer camp for girls, college and young adult ministry, spiritual direction and other ministries.

Weiss and his wife, Sarah, regularly take their seven daughters – all age 11 and younger – to family events at the retreat, he said. An eighth daughter is due soon.

People interested in donating can email prosanctity@prosanctity.org or call Kary at 402-289-1938 for information.

Weiss’s videos can be seen at prosanctity.org.

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