From an early age, Fr. Juan Solana, L.C. felt drawn to the Christian witness of Mary Magdalene.
Fr. Juan’s mother had a significant life event that endeared Mary Magdalene to her. As a result, Mary Magdalene also held a very special place in Fr. Juan’s heart as he became a priest and ultimately was assigned to serve in the Holy Land.
Upon arrival in Galilee, Fr. Juan was surprised to find nothing in Magdala to honor this woman of God. It was then that he felt inspired to purchase land in the area to build a place for pilgrims to experience Jesus’ ministry.
In 2009, during the mandatory archaeological tests required for building the guesthouse, a discovery was made that changed everything. The archaeologists unearthed the only first century synagogue on the Sea of Galilee – one of only seven synagogues from this period in the world – along with the archaeological remains of the 2,000 year-old city of Magdala. The retreat site became a holy site.
Divine Providence had reserved the unearthing of Magdala for this moment in time. Perhaps God was waiting to speak to the people of our time through this site. In just a few short years, with only part of the site excavated, Magdala has already become a very special place of history and culture for the Jewish community as well as a holy site for reflection, teaching, prayer, and worship for all Christians, regardless of background or denomination.
With its geographical location and historical significance, Magdala is the crossroads of Jewish and Christian history, and it is destined to become a premier catalyst for worldwide renewal and reconciliation.