By protecting land, sisters leave a legacy ‘It’s like we’re in heaven’

On a summer day earlier this year, Dominican Sr. Bette Ann Jaster walked that bluff, pointing out an old tree here, a quarter-acre garden there, and a labyrinth that visitors use for contemplation and meditation.

In September 2018, her congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Hope, and the Westchester Land Trust announced an agreement that protects 34 acres of the sisters’ 61-acre property, called Mariandale, in perpetuity.

“When we’re in the garden, it’s like we’re in heaven,” Jaster said.

The decision by Dominican Sisters of Hope — a congregation formed in 1995 from three Dominican communities based in Fall River, Massachusetts; Newburgh, New York; and Ossining, New York — to protect the land reflects the group’s mission statement, Jaster said: “We’re called to preach the Gospel to our world in communion with all creation. We commit our lives to the transforming power of hope.”


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