For as long as she can remember, Loretta Drogon says Mount Manresa has been a constant in her life.
“It was a place very important to me from the time my siblings and I were very little, we would go there. Then I became a retreatant there. And I would go there very frequently to find solace,” said Loretta Drogon, a West Brighton resident and member of the Committee to Save Mount Manresa.
When the Jesuits sold the 15-acre property to Island-based developers Savo Brothers last year, she was heartbroken.
“It was yanked out from under everybody in such a cruel way,” said Drogon.
Drogon and others passionate about the site formed the Committee to Save Mount Manresa.
They protested against the developers and even took them to court in an effort to prevent the property from being turned into condominiums.
Still the development is moving forward, but the committee is not giving up plans to commemorate what was once there.
They have launched a Kickstarter campaign with the hope of publishing a book highlighting the property before and after its sale. Their goal is to raise $10,000.
“We will have photographs, quotes, and individual stories, testimonies of people, what was their incentive, what was their motivation, why did they keep going when everything looked bleak?” added Drogon.
Drogon says money made from book sales will go toward legal and consultant fees the committee racked up during court battles against the developers.
Committee members say the money will also help support their latest plan -- to rezone the neighborhood and others like it to prevent future development they say changes the character of the borough.
Drogon hopes her efforts will motivate young Staten Islanders.
“They'll be inspired by a place of contemplation and beauty that was once on Staten Island, that is no more. And maybe they will step forward,” said Drogon.
For more information about the Kickstarter campaign, visit SaveManresa.org