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History

Cliffview: an old name, a new face

A retreat center that continues the tradition of serving God’s people.

Although Cliffview Retreat and Conference Center did not open until 1998, the name "Cliffview" has been familiar to people in Central Kentucky for more than 60 years.

In 1951, Monsignor Ralph Beiting, then a young priest in the Diocese of Covington, was assigned to St. William Catholic Church in Lancaster and its missions in surrounding counties. Herrington Lake had recently been formed by damming the Dix River and Father Beiting made use of the new lake by bringing children there from the four county parishes for boat rides and picnics. 

Father Beiting’s dream of having a summer camp came true in 1958 when the main building was completed in time for the six-week season. Over the next two summers, more of the camp’s buildings were built and there were five buildings by the summer of 1960. Fifty-five children were treated to the experience each week. Out of this summer camp emerged the dream of implementing an organization that would offer assistance to impoverished families.

And so it was that Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) came to be. Today CAP has more than 350 full-time employees and another 150 part-time workers. When the Diocese of Lexington was formed in 1988, CAP gave Cliffview to the Diocese. The following year, Bishop Kendrick Williams appointed Cliffview as the Diocese’s retreat center. 

Because the original site was limited to four acres, in 1994 an additional 38 acres were purchased by the diocese, adjacent to the existing property. Because the property is situated on a peninsula, Cliffview is bordered on three sides by Herrington Lake.

Not wanting to be confused with the 'old' Cliffview, yet wanting to give homage to its ancestry, the new diocesan facility is known as Cliffview Retreat and Conference Center. Cliffview opened its doors to the public in January 1998, nine years after the plans were set in motion for the diocesan spirituality center and two months before the Diocese celebrated its tenth anniversary.

On this occasion, Bishop Williams was presented with a quilt comprised of squares representing every parish in the Diocese.

Bound in blue, it not only serves as the focal point for the dining room where it hangs, the quilt speaks a warm Appalachian 'welcome' to all who come.