FATHER BEN PRIEST, FOUNDER

In 1965 Father Ben Priest created the Oratory, a retreat house, to receive people from all faiths and from no faiths at all. He offered them a space to just "be" – to just be at peace and at one with the Lord. Even though Ben passed away more than 20 years ago his spirit lives on through those of us who were privileged to have known and cherished him.

“... our ministry here is totally ecumenical. You come whoever you are and whatever you are. We do not care what church you go to or stay away from. We receive you as the unique person you are. We have had people from nearly all denominations and from none at all. What we ask is not what kind of religion you represent but whether or not you want to grow spiritually and, if you do, we are here to try and help.”

“Drop a pebble in a puddle and the pebble being small doesn’t make much of a splash, but the ripples go out to the very edge. When we work as we do with one person at a time, it might be asked, “What does that amount to?” Well, a great many of the people that come here are people that work with other people, such as clergy, school teachers and people like that. And they, themselves, tell us that what they get here they carry out with them in their work with other people. So, the ripples go out.”

“There are three relationships that I believe you can say are inescapable: relationship to self, relationship to other people — neighbors, call it what you like — and a relationship to God, call him what you like. If any one of those three relationships is unhealthy, the other two are going to be unhealthy as well. What we hope will happen here is that people will go away with all of those three relationships in a healthier state than they were in when they came.”

“We are very un-American in our disregard for statistics and numbers — we couldn’t care less. What we want to do is affect individual people. Granted, it’s necessary to affect groups too, but somebody’s got to take care of individuals.”
- FATHER BEN PRIEST (1903-1989) | visit the Founder's Website: www.fatherbenpriest.com