Our Sisters Peggy Murphy, OP, and Mary Ann Cyrnik, OP were honored on October 21, 2016, for their instrumental work in the field of addiction and recovery during the early formation of the Villa Veritas Foundation, an inpatient rehabilitation and wellness center in upstate New York.
Known at the time as Veritas Villa, the center opened May 30, 1973. After a series of divine interventions, Jim Cusack met with Sisters Mary Elizabeth Kelleher, Christine Kennedy, Peggy Murphy, and Mary Ann Cyrnik, of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville, who at the time were discerning how to best use 1,500 acres in Forestburgh, Monticello, NY. As Sister Mary Ann said, “Life changed forever.” To date, the center has served 10,000 people suffering from addiction. Eventually, the property was sold and Veritas Villa moved to Kerhonkson, NY, where Jim and Sue Cusack founded the Villa Veritas Foundation. Villa’s mission of compassionate care for the chemically dependent continues.
“We are deeply grateful for this honor but we would also like to include our Congregation, especially Mother Francis Maureen — who was our Prioress at the time of the beginning of the Villa — for her vision and courage in sponsoring a chemical dependency center in 1972,” Sister Mary Ann Cyrnik said at the event. “Up to that time our Congregational vision had always placed emphasis on teaching at all levels of education, but her openness to the Spirit made it clear that we were now to teach in different ways.”
During the gala, a memorial candle was lit for Jim Cusack, who passed away on June 5, 2016.