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Abstract Grailville, a 300-acre environmental, education and retreat center in southwestern Ohio, is the U.S. headquarters of The Grail, an international women’s movement dedicated to global solidarity; environmental sustainability; social, economic, and racial justice; and spiritual search. Present in approximately 20 different countries around the world, the Grail is a diverse community of women united by a shared commitment to empower women, build justice and solidarity, protect the earth, and celebrate spirituality and religion. The central home of the U.S. Grail since the 1940s, Grailville consists of organic gardens, nature trails, ponds, outdoor labyrinths, and a number of old and more recent buildings to house guests, program participants, and community members. Grailville offers a variety of programs and workshops on topics relating to environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment, spirituality, and global justice. A constructed wetlands has recently been installed on site to clean and recycle the wastewater of several large buildings using a natural filtration system. Grailville staff hope that this system will serve as a model of environmentally sustainable living systems. Under the name of Grailville Renewing Our Water (GROW), a series of educational programs are being implemented around water and environmental issues related to the wetlands. In addition to serving as a retreat center for individuals and groups, Grailville houses the Grailville Store and Coffeehouse and publishes a newsletter.
Religion Christianity
Geographic Location United States of America (Loveland, Ohio)
Duration of Project 1944–Present
History Originally named The Women of Nazareth, The Grail was founded in Holland in 1921 by Jesuit priest Jacques van Ginneken. As a [then] Catholic lay organization, the Grail quickly gained popularity among young women, and spread to England, Germany, and, in 1940, the United States. Dutch Grail members Lydwine van Kersbergen and Joan Overboss established the first U.S. Grail center at a summer camp in Libertyville, Illinois, but soon moved to a permanent site in Loveland, Ohio. Influenced by Monsignor Luiggi Ligutti of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Lydwine van Kersbergen helped to introduce an agricultural dimension to Grail life and philosophy in the United States by settling on a working farm. This agricultural dimension has been reflected to various degrees in the liturgies, communal life, and educational programs of Grailville since its founding. During the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, the Grail was deeply affected by Vatican II, the women’s movement, and Latin American liberation theology. As a result, the Grail opened itself to women of other religious traditions, and Grailville became a center for the emerging feminist theology movement. In the 1980s and particularly the 1990s, concern for the environment and sustainable agriculture reappeared as Grailville established its “Earth/Land Group” and launched several programs on self-sufficiency, sustainability, earth spirituality, and ecofeminism. An Organic Garden Internship program and Community Supported Agriculture project were initiated in 1994, and the Wastewater Environmental Treatment project became operational in 2003.
Mission Statement

Grailville is an environmental, education and retreat center of The Grail, an international movement of women committed to spiritual search, social actions, ecological sustainability, and the release of women’s creative energy throughout the world.

Located on an organic farm in southwest Ohio, Grailville is a diverse community offering spiritual, cultural and educational opportunities for the public, as well as providing guest facilities for meetings, lodging, dining, and special events.

“At the heart of Grailville’s mission is respect for the dignity of each person and the conviction that people are called to work together to create a hope-filled future for all….It strives to be a crossroads where people meet in their diversity, a gathering place where they are nurtured in listening to the spirit and challenged to share their talents in the service of others. Because we envision ways of living that promote wholeness for people and for the planet, we at Grailville are committed to living in ongoing, productive harmony with the earth’s own systems, with the land as a cooperative partner in our overall mission….”

Partner Organizations IMAGO
The Nature Center
Art Services Office of the [Cincinnati] Fine Arts Fund
Women Writing (For a Change)
NCRLC (National Catholic Rural Life Conference)
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Grailville
932 O'Bannonville Road
Loveland, OH 45140–9710
Phone: 513.683.2340
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)