First of all, those of us at the Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely—Pravrajikas Gitaprana and Shuddhatmaprana and the volunteer staff—as well as myself and other members of the Board, wish to express our deep appreciation to all of you. Your donations have enabled the Retreat to grow and flourish.
During Swami Vivekananda’s two trips to the West, he visited Ridgely three times—the third time for 10 weeks. This was the longest period he spent as a guest anywhere in this country. Thus we believe Ridgely has an important role in spreading Swamiji’s message. For this reason Ridgely continues its tradition of conducting classes, retreats, and other programs. In addition, this year we hosted well over 1,100 day visitors, including several busloads of pilgrims. When visitors come we give them a guided tour of our historic house, as well as other places associated with Swamiji. We also hosted this year almost 100 overnight retreatants. Some come for our programs, but others come for the quiet, meditative atmosphere that Ridgely is known for.
In addition to our usual programs, Swami Sarvadevananda conducted three special retreats here this year. Others were given by Pravrajika Sevaprana and Swami Atmavidyananda. In August and September Pravrajika Vivekaprana, from Sarada Math in India, spent over three weeks at Ridgely and conducted several retreats during that time. On Labor Day weekend, she and Swami Yogatmananda conducted a joint retreat centred on Sister Nivedita and other Western women disciples of Swami Vivekananda. This was to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Sister Nivedita.
On the Fourth of July, Ridgely again hosted the annual Retreat of the Vedanta Society of New York, presided over by Swami Paritushtananda. And, as usual, we hosted in June a presentation of ‘Movies with Spirit’. Other visitors during the year included Swami Chetanananda, Swami Ishatmananda, Pravrajika Akhandaprana, and Swami Chidbrahmananda.
Maintenance of our three buildings and of the 82 acres of property and roads continued as usual. This year we were able to complete a much- needed project of replacing the old roof on the Manor House. Here we have to give a special ‘thank you’ to a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. We could never have done this work without that person’s generosity. Though funds are necessary to carry on this maintenance work, equally valuable are our volunteers. In this regard we wish to express our deep thanks to those who took time off from their own busy schedules to offer their help.
Again our organic vegetable garden was a great success. Though we had a major battle with groundhogs, we still harvested enough vegetables to feed us the whole summer, plus we could give some away to others.
For the Board of Directors, Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely