Our History

Earth & Spirit Center

The ministry of the Earth & Spirit Center was initiated in 2005 by the Passionist Community of Holy Cross Province.  Passionists are a Catholic religious order founded in 1720 by Italian priest Paolo Francesco Danei, now known as St. Paul of the Cross.  More information about the Holy Cross Province of Passionists is at https://passionist.org/


In 1879, the Passionist community acquired 27 acres of land in the Highlands areas of Louisville, Kentucky. The community made a residence of the school building, which had been Mount St. Mary’s Academy, and changed the name to Sacred Heart Retreat. In 1891, the Passionists took parochial responsibility for St. Agnes parish, moving the congregation from a small frame church into the monastery chapel. The present monastery, built in 1906, still continues to serve as a residence for priests and brothers.


The Earth & Spirit Center, situated on the Passionist property, is located in the red brick barn behind the monastery. Built in 1915, the historic barn was first occupied by cows, horses and mules. In later years, when the community’s agricultural efforts were scaled back, it became a recreation center for student seminarians. The barn went through another interior change when for twenty years it served as a place for youth ministry and was a gathering place for teens. In 2000 it was updated and renovated to serve as a spiritual life center.


For many years, the Passionists have hallowed our land by their life and prayer. Now it provides an ideal place for the work and mission of the Earth & Spirit Center. The ground and the barn offer a sacred space for promoting an integration of spiritual practices and social compassion with the healing of the Earth. 

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