To share the natural majesty of our land above the Hudson with people of all faiths by offering educational and recreational programs, spiritual retreats, and environmental encounters that reflect our beliefs in social justice and harmony, and our eternal regard for the blessings of nature. In all this, we honor the values and life’s work of the Sisters of our Lady of Christian Doctrine who founded Marydell and serve as our continuing inspiration.
Marydell Faith and Life Center, evergreen in perpetuity, will become a self-sustaining home for programs and partnerships focused on education and the arts, recreation and wellness, spiritual growth, and environmental awareness. Serving people of all ages, faiths, communities, and economic circumstances, it will strive to promote individual development of mind, body, and spirit, while advancing the social mission of its founding order, the Sisters of our Lady of Christian Doctrine.
Visionaries and Pioneers
In 1924, the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine acquired property in Upper Nyack, New York to provide inner-city youth and the poor with a setting for fresh air and outdoor nature experiences. Known as Save-A-life farm in its early days, the Sisters eventually opened an eight-week, sleepaway summer camp for girls that operated until 1988. Thousands of campers and camp counselors still share their memories of the formative time they spent with the Sisters during summer camp.
The property now houses the Marydell Faith and Life Center, a non-profit organization that retains the Sisters’ spirit and mission, serving as a sacred and beautiful place for people to connect with nature through outdoor and spiritual programs for children and adults, retreats, conferences, workshops, and recreation. Additional information about the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine can be found here.
The Sisters, who have lived and worked at Marydell for nearly a century, have remained committed to respecting and preserving the natural beauty of its land. In 2017, they transferred 30 acres of untouched land to the New York State Land Trust to ensure its preservation as undeveloped park land. This land, and the remaining acres on which Marydell operates, lie directly below Hook Mountain and within close walking distance from Nyack Beach State Park. Explore and learn more about the land, water, and wildlife of the Lower Hudson Valley by hiking, hawk and other bird and wildlife watching, or engaging with a naturalist for specialized programs, such as monarch butterfly migration, native tree inventory, or garden food production.