A History of the Farm

An Annotated Version of the History of Nazareth Farm

In 1972, a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse approached two of his students in their school, Catholic Central of Binghamton, N.Y., (becoming Seton Catholic Central in 1976). He had information regarding the Glenmary People Farm in Vanceburg, Ky., and that it would be a great experience; an experience which was life changing. They came back to the high school and began organizing similar experiences, forming what was then called the Mission Club. In 1977 the priest asked his Bishop if he could make this work a full time ministry. The Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling- Charleston was the first to respond stating that a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse would always be welcomed by him, because, he and the Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse sat next to each other during Vatican II. The search began for property in the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese. The property was purchased on (then Little Battle Run, now Nazareth Farm Road) which contained two red barns, a chicken coop and a three bedroom house that is the core of the current farm house. Items were first moved into the Farm December 1978, anticipating an opening that did occur June, 24, 1979.

Several community members, and especially our neighbors, the Sandoras, were instrumental in the survival and success of Nazareth. More neighboring property was acquired to the original 99 acres of Nazareth Farm. Numerous staff members have served Nazareth Farm for a period of several weeks to several years. Staff members have varied in age, background and geographical locations; most have been recent college graduates who serve for one year. The Farm is governed by a Board of Directors who also has varied from location, life experience and connection to the Farm due to their own ministerial service. The origin of the work of Nazareth Farm was home repair and construction and that holds true to today. Yet it is living by the four cornerstones– Prayer, Service, Simplicity and Community– which has been the crux of Nazareth Farm whose mission is twofold: to the people of Doddridge, Harrison, Ritchie and Tyler counties and to the hundreds of high school and college age volunteers who come each year.