Moye Retreat Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Divine Providence. It is a prayerful, welcoming and beautiful space which embodies the spirit of Divine Providence. We Sisters of Divine Providence cherish Moye Center as our first Motherhouse in Texas and hope that those who spend time in this hallowed place will experience God’s providential care for them in many ways.
The Sisters of Divine Providence, founded in France in 1762 by Blessed John Martin Moye, first came to Texas in October 1866 at the invitation of Bishop Claude Dubuis, who served as pastor from 1847 - 1853 of the first St. Louis Church located on the property. In 1868, Sister Superior St. Andrew Feltin and Sister Marie Alphonse Boegler opened the first public school of Castroville, the current Retreat House. The sisters' first permanent headquarters was established in Castroville and remained there until the motherhouse was moved to San Antonio in 1896. As more Sisters came from Europe, and new members entered the Congregation from Texas, larger living quarters became necessary. In 1873, the Main House was built as the first motherhouse for the Sisters of Divine Providence in the United States. In 1886, the west wing was added, and in 1890 Providence Academy, a private school for girls, was opened. In 1896, the Sisters of Divine Providence moved their convent and school to Our Lady of the Lake Convent and Academy in San Antonio, which developed into Our Lady of the Lake College. Today, it is known as Our Lady of the Lake University, and is the oldest regionally accredited institution of higher learning in San Antonio.
In 1915, The Seminary of St. Philip, was established in the former motherhouse to help dioceses in Mexico, whose candidates for the priesthood could no longer continue their studies because of religious persecutions. This seminary sponsored 108 Mexican students who entered the seminary during its first three years of administration. By May of 1918, when the seminary was discontinued in the belief that religious oppression in Mexico was coming to an end, fifty-nine of those seminarians had been ordained to serve as diocesan priests in Mexico. In 1924, however, the persecution of Catholics in Mexico became more violent than before, and in 1929 the seminary in Castroville was briefly revived. Under the administration of the Missionary Fathers of the Holy Spirit, classes began in September 1929 with twenty-four Mexican students in the refurbished quarters, now known as the Second Interdiocesan Seminary of Castroville. The institution closed permanently in July 1930, when the exiled clergy and students returned to Mexico, where their own seminaries were gradually being permitted to reopen. The seminary's well, provided by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who had held the property from 1918 to 1929 for their scholasticate, was eventually sold to the city of Castroville and used as its public water source.
In 1938, the remainder of the original property was resold to the Sisters of Divine Providence, who renovated it into a grammar school for boys known as Moye Military Academy. In 1959, the academy closed, and in the years that followed, it became Moye High School for aspirants interested in membership in the Congregation, and later it became Moye Formation Center and served as a novitiate for the Sisters. In 1985, it became the Moye Retreat Center, which currently hosts up to 47 spiritual retreats each year.