The Ardath Staunton Francke Hermitage
The Ardath S. Francke Hermitage is a welcome addition to The West Virginia Institute for Spirituality located at 1601 Virginia Street, near the banks of the Kanawha River and in the shadow of the State Capitol. It is a visually pleasing compact building which artfully echoes the line and color of the main house.
It was designed by architect Tom Potts and built under the creative supervision of Carl Agsten, Jr. The Agsten Construction workers completed the hermitage on schedule, donating hours of skilled labor.
The result is a delightfully simple sound-proof building with a foyer, a gathering space that can be used for small groups: a bedroom, bath and kitchen where a person on retreat can be comfortably secluded for prayer and study.
We refer to this hermitage as a little miracle, wrought in part by Carl Agsten and Leslie Clay. Leslie, along with her father and sisters, contributed generously to financing the project. Other donors include friends and family. Carl not only supervised the construction but contributed his time and talent.
On Saturday, November 25, 2006 – a day marked by a clear blue sky, bright sunshine and pleasantly warm weather – the families and donors and representatives of the work force gathered. With prayers and thanksgiving the ribbon was cut and people moved freely and joyfully thru the sunlit pristine rooms amid fragrant flowers. The Ardath S. Francke Hermitage was open.
I am deeply humbled by the name, but I know it is not about myself.
Indeed, many have stood in a long tradition of prayerful discernment. Indeed, none of us stand alone, but we stand in the calling and in the power of God who seeks to build us all together: not for our own benefit alone, but for our families, our friends and for the community in which we live.
I pray that the hermitage, the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality and the people who gather here may continue to bear fruit in the Spirit of the Lord. Indeed, many have already been blessed. Many more continue to be blessed regardless of differences in the One Lord who has called us, and is in all, through all, and above all.
Come to the hermitage. Come to the quiet. To reserve a space call (304) 345-0926.