A Home Away From the Hilltop

The Hohenheim House at the Calcagnini Contemplative Center

On the idyllic property of Georgetown’s modern Calcagnini Contemplative Center (CCC), there is a piece of history – an 1894 Gothic-Revival farmhouse overlooking the majestic Shenandoah Valley.

The Hohenheim House, renovated with gifts from many generous donors, including a $200,000 gift from an anonymous donor, recently reopened at the CCC. Having more space for breakout groups and spiritual direction on the property enables Georgetown to better serve those on retreats or ESCAPE, or even hold more than one retreat at a time, expanding the center’s impact.

"The Hohenheim House has been a tremendous asset to the ESCAPE program,” shares Madeline Vitek,director of the 25-year-old program that provides first year and transfer students a unique opportunity to “escape the Hilltop” for an overnight trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“The extra space allows our first-year students to reflect in a smaller, more home-like setting.

"While the center’s other buildings are more contemporary, with large windows to bask in the picturesque 55 acres in Bluemont, Virginia, the Hohenheim House is cozier and serves to remind students and visitors of the area’s history and charm.

“The renovated house has not only added to the beauty of the property but significantly contributed to the effectiveness of our retreat programs. The house is used as a house of prayer for individuals, enjoying the warmth of the house during winter and the beauty of the porch in the summer. The house has also allowed small groups of retreatants to meet for meaningful conversation,” explains Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., former vice president of Mission and Ministry.

“We are very grateful that the house is featured so prominently on the property, a sign of the past that inspires the hopes of our students for the future,” adds O’Brien.

The preservation and renovation of Hohenheim House was recognized with a 2016 Preservation Award by the Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission.

"We are delighted to help Georgetown enhance their retreat programs by maximizing use of the house," shares the anonymous donor. “We know how important retreats are for students, faculty, and friends of Georgetown.”