ALLEGANY, N. Y. — Nearly 200 people gathered earlier this month at St. Bonaventure University to support the 25-year-old Mt. Irenaeus through the 10th Mountain Auction, raising roughly $30,000 for the popular West Clarksville, N.Y., Franciscan retreat center.
The Nov. 6 event was a sellout, according to Margaret Bryner, a SBU staff member who chairs the auction’s organizing committee.
“The numbers are not in yet but I would guess the auction’s profits are approximately $30,000,” said Bryner. Roughly 160 people attended, which is about the same as years past, she said.
“What we find exciting about that, though, is that even in our 10th year, we continue to welcome guests who are attending their first auction. It is this generosity of so many friends that has helped us sustain the mountain and will enable it to continue to serve others through its endowment.”
The event began with a 5 p.m. Mass in the University Chapel in Doyle Hall, and featured more than 200 gifts.
Supporting Mountain Retreat
“People like supporting the mountain and friars, and for some, it is their big social event of the year. This auction caters to a wide variety of people because of the mountain atmosphere and the great items that are available,” Bryner said.
In his remarks, Daniel Riley, OFM, director of Mt. Irenaeus, mentioned Daniel Hurley, OFM, a longtime resident of Mt. Irenaeus, who died in March.
“We certainly all felt Fr. Dan Hurley’s joyful presence with us that evening,” Bryner said. “He will continue to be celebrated as our honorary chair.”
Bidding on Varied Auction Items
The most popular auction items included handmade gifts by Dan Riley and Joseph Kotula, OFM, as well as a hike and lunch with Br. Joe, nativity sets and jewelry, said Bryner.
“We also offered unique getaways this year, from a Florida week on the Atlantic Ocean to a stay at a historic estate in Pennsylvania,” Bryner said. “One of the popular items during the live auction was dinner for 12 at the St. Bonaventure friary, hosted and prepared by F. Edward Coughlin, OFM.”
Attendees at the auction, always held the first weekend of November, travel from many states to attend the popular fundraiser.
“We have regular guests who come from Ohio, Pittsburgh and Virginia, as well as a fairly large and extremely supportive Buffalo contingent,” said Bryner, pictured in the rear photo.
Thirteen people served on the organizing committee, most of whom have worked on the project for all 10 years, said Bryner, adding that Dan Carter, of the Southern Tier area, was the auctioneer.
Information about other Mt. Irenaeus events can be found in its blog. Reflections about seasonal themes can be found of the blog of the Franciscan Sojourners.
— Jocelyn Thomas is the Province’s director of communications.