Ridgely! During Swami Vivekananda’s first and second visits to America he spent in all at least twelve weeks of rest and revitalization at that beautiful estate, speaking day and night of God and of things of the Spirit, transporting those around him. Now Ridgely is open to spiritual seekers from all over America, indeed from all over the world, as a retreat center.
Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely, dedicated as an ashram under the Ramakrishna Order of India on October 11, 1997, is a place of pilgrimage and retreat for those who want the opportunity to engage in intense spiritual practices. As Revered Swami Bhuteshananda, the late President of the Order said in a letter of August 22, 1997, “Swami Vivekananda loved Ridgely, and on all the three occasions that he visited there, he was deeply impressed by the peaceful atmosphere of the place. The strong spiritual current that Swamiji has left behind will never go in vain. As a result of that the Vivekananda Retreat has come into existence. This is indeed a marvelous gift from Sri Ramakrishna to His admirers and devotees… I hope the Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely will be a great source of peace and spiritual support to the seekers of God.”
The Vivekananda Retreat provides a unique opportunity for aspirants to integrate and intensify their spiritual practice in an environment that is surcharged with Swamiji’s spiritual power. The Retreat is under the spiritual leadership of Swami Swahananda, who was initiated by Swami Vijnanananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Retreatants, guided by the minister-in-residence, Pravrajika Gitaprana, will attend scheduled classes, practice meditation, and absorb the serenity that is Ridgely.
You can read a detailed account of Swami Vivekananda at Ridgely in a chapter titled “The Great Summer” in Swami Vivekananda and the West: New Discoveries by Marie Louise Burke. Please also see the history of Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely.