Former Catholic school, bed & breakfast in Albion now a retreat center
‘We’re inviting people to experience it with the intention of healing our hearts and humanity.’ – Courtney Kazembe
ALBION – The former St. Mary’s Catholic School on Brown Street has a new use and purpose as a retreat center.
The site was most recently used as an assisted living site with an adult daycare by Tender Loving Family Care. Tender Loving continues to operate sites in Le Roy and Irondequoit.
Annika Kazembe, president and founder of Tender Loving, opened the new retreat center with her husband Courtney Kazembe, who is the founder and chairman of the Global Institute for Transformation & Enlightenment (GIFTE).
The couple celebrated the grand opening of the center on Friday and is planning a bigger celebration in October.
“This is all about raising the human vibration,” Mr. Kazembe said. “It’s about bringing wholeness and peace. It’s about bringing forgiveness among family members and races. It’s about reconciliation.”
Mr. Kazembe said the site is perfect for a retreat center. The former school is 7,000 square feet. It was a bed and breakfast before it was purchased by Tender Loving. There are eight bedrooms, two larger communal spaces, a kitchen and a second floor auditorium with stage.
“This is a sacred space where people can come together,” Kazembe said. “Everything is designed to bring about the best in human beings. Underneath there is love in all human beings.”
Kazembe established GIFTE about a decade ago. He welcomes people looking to reconnect and learn more about their mind, body and spirit, and he will support them on their awakening journey.
The couple will offer health and wellness programs and events together to create a “unique, five-star experience” for guests, they said.
The property is close to the Erie Canal and the towpath, which offers opportunities for kayaking, fishing, biking and hikes.
Guests can stay inside or camp outside, including in “glamping” tents. Guests will have the option of participating in activities such as yoga, meditation and both sound and shamanic therapy during their stay. The retreat center will include an outdoor sweat lodge.
“We’re inviting people to experience it with the intention of healing our hearts and humanity,” Kazembe said about the retreat space. “What if we find the best in all of us?”
The retreats may be introductory sessions for a day, or longer outings over a weekend or a week. The programs will be offered year-round.
Retreats and events will be accompanied with plant-based food to accompany the healing processes that will take place on the grounds, the Kazembes said.
GIFTE teams with a sister organization, The Kazembe Foundation, to support youth on their journey towards personal power and empowerment. They provide leading life courses and workshops, investing in scholarship opportunities, providing guidance through mentoring programs.
One of those programs is YESS! or Youth Empowerment Success Seminar. They will bring that program to 1,000 people, ages 16 to 26 in Jamaica. Click here for more on YESS!