About Us

Our Story

The Missionary Sisters of St. Columban was founded in Ireland in 1922 and named for St. Columban, an Irish monk who was a missionary in Europe in the sixth century. The Sisters began missionary work in China in 1926 in cooperation with the Columban Fathers and in the coming years established missions in many other parts of the world. Today, the Columban Sisters’ motherhouse remains in Ireland and is located in Magheraore, Wicklow.

The facility that is now St. Columban’s on the Lake Retirement Home in Silver Creek, NY was originally built by the Columban Fathers in 1924 to serve as a seminary for young men studying for the priesthood. In 1930, the Columban Sisters arrived to provide support in running and maintaining the seminary and became an integral part of life in the school and in the community. By the end of the 1960s, with the number of seminarians declining, the Columban Fathers transferred ownership of the building and grounds to the Columban Sisters who renovated the building and established a ministry of care for the elderly. The retirement home opened its doors on May 1, 1970 and welcomed its first residents.

The landmark English Tudor and Gothic-style building on more than 50 parklike acres on the shores of Lake Erie has retained much of its original character through the years. In addition to original woodwork and windows, the home has many unique features including the Chinese Room, a visiting and meeting area with authentic décor elements, and original artifacts acquired by the Columban Fathers during their missionary work in China. Meticulously maintained and updated through the years, St. Columban’s on the Lake offers residents a beautiful and comfortable home with all the modern amenities.

Our Concept of Care

Since the Columban Sisters began their ministry of care to the elderly 50 years ago at St. Columban’s on the Lake, hundreds of men and women have come through our doors. Each person in our resident family is cared for with dignity and respect in their journey here with us. By creating a home-like environment where the needs of residents are safeguarded, St. Columban’s preserves the spirit of independence and personal dignity in a place where residents can enjoy life.

Our high quality residential elderly care program focuses on the physical, intellectual, spiritual, social, vocational, and emotional aspects of each resident’s life and creates a place of joyful living for our residents, as well as peace of mind for family and friends.

While maintaining the ministry and traditions of care that have set our elderly care program apart from many others, we also constantly meet the challenges of current retirement lifestyle trends in all aspects of our program including wellness, fitness, socialization, and self-development. The integrity of the programs, services, and care of the residents are always at the forefront of all we do at St. Columban’s on the Lake.

Our Operations

St. Columban’s on the Lake Retirement Home is a not-for-profit, nondenominational home for elderly men and women administered by the Columban Sisters whose experience and dedication are well-known in the health, education and social work fields. The Sisters are supported by an experienced, professional staff and an extensive volunteer organization. We welcome singles and couples of all faiths and offer a variety of accommodations to suit a range of budget requirements. St. Columban’s on the Lake is also home to a number of retired Columban Sisters and Columban Fathers who reside in private quarters in the home.

Throughout its 50-year history, St. Columban’s on the Lake has been completely self-supporting and receives no diocesan funding or other assistance. In the 1990s, an endowment fund was established to enable St. Columban’s to maintain its legacy of quality care while remaining affordable for residents and families. The retirement home also depends on the generous support of its many resident families, friends, benefactors, and the surrounding community through fundraising activities and events.

The Columban Sisters Mission Office is also located at St. Columban’s on the Lake. Its role is to educate the public about the mission and role of the Columban Sisters both locally and around the globe. The office handles the production and mailing of mission appeals throughout the year in support of the Columban Sisters work for the poor, the sick, and the elderly in our missions in China, England, Ireland, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United States. To learn more about the Columban Sisters, visit ColumbanSisters.org.

St. Columban’s on the Lake building under construction in the early 1920s.

Seminary students sit beneath the original sign at St. Columban’s Preparatory Seminary later to become St. Columban’s on the Lake Retirement Home.

Sisters greet the first residents to St. Columban’s on the Lake Retirement Home on opening day, May 1, 1970.

Columban Sisters meet with the retirement home’s volunteer Advisory Board during a 1990s fundraising planning session.

The Columban Sisters Spring Festival was held on the grounds of St. Columban’s on the Lake for 56 years. The summer event attracted hundreds from the surrounding community with all proceeds going to the Sisters’ worldwide missions.