Monday, August 31, 2009

good counsel friary

anyone want to buy a castle? there is one for sale in morgantown...
this beautiful structure is home of the good counsel friary. it was put on the market in march 2008 and has yet to be sold.
ferdinando pitassi, an apprentice stone mason from the age of 7, began construction of the friary in the 1920's. pitassi moved to the pittsburgh area from italy to live with his brother. pitassi was later known as thoney pietro due to immigration officers not being able to pronounce his name. (pietro means stone in italian)
after visiting morgantown pietro decided that he and his family would move here. pietro found morgantown to be reminiscent of the italian town he grew up in. he also built walls and stone houses in the south park area of morgantown.
this magnificent structure was built without the use of any blueprints. construction took five years to complete.
pietro and his family lived in the castle until 1949 when he donated it to the franciscan friars. the friars decided to sell the structure until father jude mili convienced the other friars that the center would be used retreats. father mili moved in the castle in 1968 and stayed there until he died in 2007.
if you wish to find out more, please check out our lady of good counsel friary blog. there is a ton of historical information and musings regarding the friary.
also additional information can be obtained by visiting the light of life community who holds regular meetings and programs at the good counsel friary. also, the charleston daily mail had a wonderful article here.
(i obtained information from the above listed sites to provide this blog post.)


  1. Melita, I went on a retreat there in 1980 or so...with Father Jude and LOL community. It was fascinating seeing it here ! xo, O

  2. I am a Pitassi. My Great Grandparents migrated from Italy too. My Grandfather, Peter lived in Chicago, them moved to california. Do you think we may be related? please e-mail me at:

  3. I went to Kindergarten at this Friary in 1969. Wow....It looks exactly as I remember it.

  4. another "triumph" of the Second Vatican Council. Franciscans in retreat - everywhere.

  5. Dear Melita,

    Your Friary Webpost is beautiful. My late wife, Mary, and I came to Fairmont, WV in the early 1970's. In the Fall of 1975 we attended our first retreat, It was a College Weekend Retreat, Mary and I helped out with the students. Over the years we made many Retreats. And met many wonderful spiritual friends. Mary went to Heaven in 1995, after a nineteen month struggle with malignancy. Father Jude from the Friary would come to our home every week to bring Mary the Sacraments.

    Our lives are so much richer with memories of: Father Jude Milli, Friary Staff, and so many wonderful people we knew there.

    God's Love,
    Fairmont, WV

  6. This property was just purchased by Calvary Chapel Morgantown. It will be a great venue to spread the message of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in a world filled with negativity.

    Appreciate your blog