The nature preserve trail ends at the Soehnel Meditation grove, and you are invited to pause at the benches to reflect on your experience of walking the trail through the woodland and prairie ecosystems before proceeding to the front field. Walk carefully around, looking at the cement structures remaining standing at the various levels. What evidence of former occupants can you see? The meditation grove is a "ruins" of a number of small buildings built in the 1940s that housed chickens, ducks and pigs. The Marianist brothers farmed the land you have walked from 1910 when they arrived, until 1967, when the farm was torn down to make way for Bergamo Center. Although "progress" removed some of the natural areas, nature is gradually taking back part of the landscape. Notice the re-growth of vegetation amid the cement. The hill to the east of the grove provides a woodland edge habitat that is home to a variety of birds that thrive "living on the edge" where both tree canopy and open space is provided to meet their food and shelter needs.
The grove is named after Brother John Soehnel (1905 - 1986) a Marianist brother who lived at Mount St. John for most of his life in many different roles, including working on the farm. While still a young brother, he lost his eyesight and lived here for the remainder of his life, on the land he knew well. Brother John's life of prayer and reflection, his love for the land of Mount St. John, his use of his senses of touch, smell, hearing and his reliance on memories and others' descriptions are an inspiration to all of us to more fully experience the beauty of the ecosystems that serve us all.