Memories from the Cascade Cabins
By Katie Drinkuth, Communications summer intern
Summer is the perfect time to take a relaxing getaway; away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Over the years, many Sisters have taken much needed time away and have stayed in beautiful places across the country. One such place is in Manitou Springs, Colorado, a city surrounded by the stunning Rocky Mountains. Nestled in the mountains only about 7,000 feet up, are the Cascade Cabins, which sit right above the magnificent Garden of the Gods national landmark in Colorado Springs, Colorado. These two cabins were graciously gifted to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. They are quaint, quiet, and come with gorgeous views. Over many years, Sisters have enjoyed spending their time at the cabins and have gained many fond memories with friends that will last a lifetime.
While the care of the cabins has changed hands over the years, S. Jackie Leech, currently oversees their care and use. She says, “We are fortunate to have generous women in the past caring for these treasures; they did great work in keeping them well maintained.” S. Jackie herself has many fond memories of visiting the Annie Lee Ross cabin. “It is peaceful,” she says, “and a wonderful place to get away from the traffic and noise of city life.”
One of the cabins had previously been owned by artist, Annie Lee Ross, who gave it to the Sisters of Charity, and the other, Marillac, was given to the Sisters of Charity by Penrose Hospital. Both cabins are at the foot of the mesmerizing Pikes Peak. S. Jackie says that both are simply enchanting because they are, “Relaxing, prayerful, and it’s a wonderful delight to be in God’s beautiful creation.”
S. Georgia Kitt recalls fond memories from summer vacations in Colorado spent with Sisters who have passed away. She remembers fun visits with the late Sisters Mary Jean Fields and Joan Crocker in Colorado Springs and a surprise picnic lunch brought to her in Annie’s cabin by the late S. Mary Bauer and her friend Annika. S. Georgia says, “Those relationships and memories last.”
S. Shirley Dix reminisces about staying at the cabins with 15 others for her Golden Jubilee celebration. They had an amazing mini retreat and the late S. Mary Michele Fisher (Mitch), who lived in Colorado at the time, took the group site-seeing. She has been back several more times. Once, she and her friend, S. Mary Ann Gutzwiller, drove to Pikes Peak which was very daunting, so she much prefers the relaxing train ride instead!
One fun memory S. Nancy Bramlage recalls was on one of her yearly trips out West for a Congregational Day when she was on the Leadership Council. The late S. Mary Michele took the group to many scenic spots and shared funny stories, one of which S. Nancy says was about S. Marie Evelyn Dow (Evie) encountering a bear in the driveway between the two cabins while she was unpacking the car!
In the summer of 1991, Sisters Mary Fran Davisson, Annette Paveglio and Catherine Kirby brought S. Kathryn Ann Connelly to the cabins for her 40th band reunion. After seeing many breathtaking sites, S. Mary Fran says, “I found myself just sitting quietly in God’s presence reflecting on and admiring God’s beauty.” While they drove through the city, the friends passed a home with fascinating metal sculptures in the front yard, and met the artist who created them. She says, “This was a wonderful time filled with many memories.”
S. Roslyn Hafertepe remembers a group of administrators who stayed in the cabins, many of whom had no experience hiking in the mountains. She has fun-filled memories of those people being very breathless while on the many hiking trails around the area. Besides hiking, many Sisters have visited the local sites including the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, the Garden of the Gods national landmark, Cripple Creek, an old mining town, and North Pole, Colorado, which features Santa’s Workshop; a fun amusement park.
“The beauty of the mountains and the quiet of the surroundings is unmatched,” S. Georgia says. “It instills peace.” The Cascade Cabins hold dear memories for many Sisters, ones that will withstand time.