Around this time, the Sisters in California also established a retreat center after purchasing a former resort and retreat facility in Santa Cruz called Villa Maria del Mar. Thousands of people – including but not limited to priests and religious – have experienced the hospitality and ministry of the Sisters at this lovely and tranquil oceanside location.
In 1970, a new education ministry took shape when the Sisters opened a Montessori pre-school in unoccupied space in the Novitiate building of the Los Gatos Convent. During the next 29 years, Casa Maria Montessori grew from 26 students to 166. It finally closed to meet the need to expand the convent’s space for aging Sisters.
As laity became more involved in running Catholic schools and religious education programs, some Sisters began to focus on the more pastoral aspects of parish life, serving as directors of religious education, liturgy coordinators, parish administrators, community organizers, Eucharistic ministers to the sick, visitors to the elderly and ill, and coordinators and staff of parish centers. Others engaged in direct services to the poor, both in California and in other parts of the world with the greatest needs.