Friday 27 February 2015

The Year of Consecrated Life: The Order of St. Augustine at Marylake

February brings the season of Lent, which is a time of prayer and reflection before Easter. What better time to feature a religious order who have provided a place for those things in the Archdiocese of Toronto for seven decades?

The Order of St. Augustine traces its origins to 1244, when several Tuscan hermits were asked by Pope Innocent IV to unite as an order under St. Augustine's Rule, which is the oldest known guide to living in a religious community.

Fast forward to the 1940s, when Archbishop McGuigan heard about the work a group of Augustinians were doing in Nova Scotia. He had been interested in opening a spiritual center within the archdiocese, and so he invited the order to start a foundation in King City.

MG DS 44.66b

"Your Excellency, I beg to inform Your Excellency that the Sacred Congregation of Religious, favourably complying with the request presented by the Augustinian Fathers and approved by Your Excellency, has granted the "Beneplacitum Apostolicum" for a new foundation of their Order in your Archdiocese, in the place known as "Marylake".

"While making to Your Excellency this communication, with best regards and wishes, I remain Yours sincerely in Christ, + Ildebrando Antoniutti"

The Augustinians took over an 814 acre estate located on Keele Street north of King City that was originally developed by Sir Henry Pellat (of Casa Loma fame). The lake on the site, known as Lake Marie, was renamed as Marylake, and the property was dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. The buildings were converted to become a monastery and retreat center. In addition, the order operated a dairy farm.

On August 15, 1943, 12,000 people attended the dedication of the chapel and blessing of the statue of Our Lady of Grace. On November 11, 1961, the Augustinians were given the care of Sacred Heart Parish in King City. In 1964, a new monastery and shrine were dedicated. The organ in the new chapel was constructed from combination of two organs: one from the Seagram House in Toronto, and the other from the Eaton Estate. In 1999, Villanova College was opened on the property.

Over the years, Marylake has been an important spiritual haven in the Archdiocese of Toronto. Tens of thousands have taken part in the retreat programs offered by the Augustinians.

For more information about the Augustinians at Marylake, check

For more information about the Order of St. Augustine, check

PH27A-04PC: Main Gate

PH27A-07PC: Monastery with Outside Altar

PH27A-10PC: Main Barn, Blessed Frederic Hall and Dairy

Newer shrine and monastery with view of the lake

Holstein herd

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