53 Mill Street, Westfield, MA 01085 • 413.562.3627

Nature Helps Us Nurture

5/18/2021 | Cindy Lees

Category: Blog


Let me start by saying I am not a writer. When asked to participate in writing a blog post for Genesis, I was hesitant. What I could write that would be meaningful? After some contemplation, I am giving this a try.

When I was hired years ago, I never realized the rich history of the land at Genesis. I feel our history is the reason for the wonderfully peaceful atmosphere here. I feel our rich history contributes to our success in making guests feel welcome.

Nature helps us nurture at Genesis.

Genesis’ land was originally occupied by regional Native Americans, called Woronoack, meaning “winding river.”  These tribes would set-up on the land because of its abundant natural resources. The concept of property didn’t exist. Instead, the Woronoack people saw the land in terms of how it was used, not that is was owned. When settlers moved into the region, the natives were forced to move on.

The property eventually became the Crane Estate in the early 1800s. The Crane family was known in New England as experts in paper manufacturing as well as a variety of other endeavors.

Driving up the driveway at Genesis, lined with magnificent trees and lovely plantings, you can just picture the beautiful Carriage House and Manor House back in the day. Though the Manor House is gone, the Carriage House remains a useful beautiful building – a peaceful sanctuary for many to enjoy during their stays at Genesis. I held my daughter’s baby shower there a couple of years ago. Genesis has rented out the Carriage House for weddings, memorial services and other functions over the years – it’s a truly welcoming, warm place to gather.

The property was acquired by the Sisters of Providence and used from 1933-1964 by the Guild of the Holy Child as a lying-in hospital for unwed mothers. The Manor House was raised in 1964 to make way for our current building. The Sisters of Providence continued their ministry for unwed mothers until 1975.

In 1976, the Sisters began a new ministry and Genesis came to life as a spiritual center.

Genesis provides a wonderfully tranquil environment for those who visit. The beautiful grounds are a joy to walk on and each changing season is a wonder. I am in awe daily by the tranquility I feel and my beautiful experiences with the guests. While I deal with the Center’s Financial Services, I do enjoy sharing our history with those who visit. I was known for giving a tour of where the chickens lived, when we had them. I am looking forward to the upcoming history corner that Sister Elizabeth is creating and being able to share that with our guests.

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From its beginning the earth is a spiritual as well as a physical reality.
-Thomas Berry