.- Canada’s largest Opus Dei centre recently got bigger. The Manoir de Beaujeu, a retreat and conference centre located 30 miles west of Montreal in the Diocese of Valleyfield, underwent a $10-million expansion that includes a formation center for young women in the field of hospitality management. This is the second phase of expansion at the Manoir de Beaujeu. The first phase added rooms to the retreat center for a total of 23. Opus Dei is planning to add more rooms in a third phase of expansion, but this has been put on hold due to funding.
The new 45,000-square-foot center houses the Soulanges Hospitality Management Center, which serves the retreatants who come to the Manoir de Beaujeu each year.
The new wing consists of four buildings overlooking a courtyard and includes a large kitchen, a dining hall, an oratory, accommodations for 20 people, a library and a fitness room.
It was completed and functional as of last summer but it was officially inaugurated Oct. 17 by Bishop Luc Cyr of Valleyfield, Quebec Lt.-Gov. Lise Thibault and regional vicar of Canada for Opus Dei Msgr. Frederick Dolan.
While the trend in the French-speaking province is for religious organizations to scale down, Opus Dei says its growing center is responding to the needs of a growing number of people who request spiritual formation each year.
The non-accredited hospitality program, offered to young women aged 15-22, offers a work experience that includes professional, personal and spiritual formation, in line with the teachings of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva, who taught that work is a means to sanctification.
Participants are paid minimum wage and taught skills, such as cooking, waitressing, serving, cleaning and laundering.
Due to the new facilities, the program, which has existed on a smaller scale since 1972, can now accommodate up to 10 resident participants. Last summer, seven students from high school to university, spent part or all of their summer there, reported the Catholic Times.
Ten female numeraries, who make up the staff, reside at the center. Numerary is the term used for someone who makes a lifelong commitment to the mission of Opus Dei as a celibate.
The Manoir de Beaujeu is an 1826 seigneurial manor on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. It was purchased in 1965 by the Foundation for Culture and Education, a nonprofit corporation run by Opus Dei members and nonmembers, and entrusted to Opus Dei as a venue for spiritual formation and other activities.
Other Opus Dei centers in Canada are located in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. There are 700 members of Opus Dei in Canada; 200 in Quebec.
While the Manoir de Beaujeu is unique in Canada, there are several Opus Dei centers like it in the United States and other countries.