Annual Appeal

November 2017

Dear Friends,

This year marks a milestone for the Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely. It has been 20 years since the founding of this center. For this reason, all of us here – Pravrajikas Gitaprana and Shuddhatmaprana and the volunteer staff – as well as myself and other members of the Board, wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge our great debt to you for your continued support for all these years. Your donations are helping to keep alive Swami Vivekananda’s message of universal acceptance and love for all.

In accordance with Swami Vivekananda’s teachings, Ridgely is meant for people of all faiths – as well as for those who have no spiritual path at all. It is meant for anyone who wishes to find some inner peace. At this time when the world seems to be slipping into one crisis after another, we see that people badly need a quiet, peaceful place to retreat from the stress and anxieties of life. We are happy to say that people are finding this at Ridgely.

Twenty years is truly a milestone. As most of you know, the winters in New York State are long and harsh, and the difficulties of maintaining a place like this are many. But when we see the enthusiasm of our guests and visitors, we know that Swami Vivekananda has truly imbued this place with his presence. This year the retreat hosted approximately 1,000 day visitors, and almost 100 overnight retreatants. Most visitors had a guided tour of the Manor House as well as other places associated with Swamiji’s visits here.

Our regular classes on meditation and Vedanta scriptures and also our other programs continued as usual this year, but, in addition, we arranged several special programs. As in the past, Swami Sarvadevananda conducted two retreats here, one in March and the other in November. Besides this, Swami Sarvapriyananda, Pravrajika Sevaprana, Swami Yogatmananda, and Pravrajika Dayaprana each conducted a day or weekend retreat. And Pravrajika Satchitprana, from Sri Sarada Math in Dakshineswar, conducted a weeklong retreat while she was here.

The Vedanta Society of New York again held its annual Fourth of July retreat at Ridgely, which was presided over by Swami Sarvapriyananda. And we also hosted in June our annual “Movies with Spirit” presentation. Other visitors included Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana, Swami Chidbrahmananda, Helena Margesson, Swami Vimokshananda, and Swami Ishtananda.

Besides the usual maintenance on the three houses, we were able to replace the roof and the boiler for the Leggett House this year, thanks to the generosity of two donors. Maintenance of the property, including the shrine trail and the roads, also continued as usual. Again, the organic vegetable garden kept us well supplied with vegetables this summer. Here we wish to express our deep thanks to the volunteer workers who set aside time from their busy lives to help us with some of these projects.

Looking back over these past twenty years, we see that many people have been associated with Ridgely, and many of them have contributed enormously, in one way or another, to help make this place the wonderful retreat center that it is. The work and contributions of these people have impacted Ridgely in many ways. Though the buildings and property are there, the people who have supported this place, and dedicated themselves to it – some of whom are now deceased – have also worked to build the foundation of this center. This is most important, and this is what we celebrate on this twentieth anniversary.

If you have not visited Ridgely for some time, please come. We are sure you will be refreshed and rejuvenated by your experience here. If you cannot come in person, please visit our website, or join us on Facebook, and enjoy the photos, videos, news items, etc. And don’t forget to sign up for our monthly email newsletter, if you have not already done so. From it you will get all the news of our upcoming events.

As all of you certainly understand, Swamiji’s message is an urgently-needed remedy for the religious and social frictions in the world today. Please help the Vivekananda Retreat carry forward his message by contributing generously to this work. Your donations are tax deductible, and are most gratefully received. Donations can also be made via Paypal. You will find the link on our website,

May the Lord’s blessings be showered in abundance on all our friends and devotees, and their families.

Sarvadevananda sig tiny
Swami Sarvadevananda

Pr. Gitaprana