The following is an article that appeared in The Enterprise, a Southern Maryland newspaper, featuring SCNs Carol McKean and Michaella Cronin and their service at Camp Maria. The pair stepped down at the end of 2007 after many years at the helm of the SCN ministry. Kitty Wilson, SCN, is the new director and will begin her ministry at Camp March 1.
SMR bids goodbye to pair of Camp Maria mainstays
By JESSE YEATMAN
Sister Carol McKean and Sister Michaella Cronin belong to the order of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Ky., which owns the 10-acre waterfront Camp Maria retreat center south of Leonardtown. St. Mary’s Ryken students visit Camp Maria on day trips.
‘‘You made community happen in this place and we say farewell not with sadness but absolute confidence that you made a difference,” said the Rev. Ray Schmidt of St. John Francis Regis Catholic Church. Schmidt called on the students and others at Mass on Monday afternoon to choose between chaos or faith and knowledge, a choice he said was made easier by knowing the sisters and watching their success in their religious pursuits.
The nuns will leave for Kentucky, where their order is located, at the beginning of March.
Sister Kitty Wilson will be the new director at Camp Maria and Sister Rose Johnson, also from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, will be the associate director.
Mary Joy Hurlburt, president of St. Mary’s Ryken, thanked Cronin and McKean for taking care of the land and buildings at Camp Maria and for being so welcoming to the school’s visiting students.
‘‘You welcomed us respectfully and said ‘what we have is yours and remember without God, we would have nothing,’” Hurlburt said.
McKean said at Mass that the St. Mary’s Ryken students who visited the camp were always a joy to host and left the retreat in better shape than when they arrived.
The sisters said they were leaving because they completed their duties at Camp Maria. Their mission included renovating both the buildings and programs at the retreat. The retreat, originally a summer camp for girls, is now used year round thanks to the winterization of the buildings.
The retreat hosts annual muscular dystrophy camps, as well as retreats for women recovering from addiction and family retreats for those who have been returning to the camp for years.
A Web site for the camp was created on their watch and a switch was made from temporary volunteer help to regular employees hired to run and maintain the camp. They also started a scholarship fund, to help bring people to retreats who could not otherwise afford them.
Cronin, who entered the order in 1952, was especially known for her home visits to the sick and poor. She has been connected with Camp Maria for more than 40 years, beginning as a college counselor to girls. She is completing 10 years as associate director at the camp and also worked at Mother Catherine Spalding, Holy Angels Sacred Heart and Little Flower schools.
McKean has served for 10 years as administrator and director of the retreat center. Before that, she worked in St. Mary’s as a teacher and principal at Little Flower and Mother Catherine Spalding schools. She became a nun in 1960 and has served in St. Mary’s for the last 30 years.
‘‘I learned a lot from [Sister McKean]. She’s very patient and a true guiding force in any position,” said Marsha Leigh Stewart. ‘‘Really, they both are.”
Stewart, now principal at Little Flower School in Great Mills, was a teacher when McKean was principal and Cronin worked in the school’s library.
As many as 50 nuns from the order worked in St. Mary’s in the late 1970s, many at St. Mary’s Academy in Leonardtown before the school merged with Ryken High School in 1981.