The place & its history

The Old Presbytery

The Old Presbytery

The Old Presbytery is located at the Chamai center in the small village of Hodister, in the wooded area of La Roche-en-Ardenne.

Two buildings are located on this site. The main house is the Old Presbytery. The building is inhabited by Sophie & Gert. Sophie’ parents are living in the adjoining part of the house. A beautiful garden and vegetable garden surround the house.

Back in the 16th century, the house was a simple house, with a straw roof and walls of wood and cob. In the 17th century, the central rooms of the house were enlarged and renovated with the natural stones of the land (called “grès”). For many generations, the house was the home of the village pastor of Hodister. During the Second World War, soldiers or travelers found shelter in the attics of the house and were offered soup in what is now the Earth House, where we welcome you today.

The villagers often came to the pastors house for mass when it was too cold in the church. He and his maid taught Dutch to the children in the house and looked after them during the summer holidays.

The history of the place and the retreats organised by Chamai are connected. They come from the same source of love and connection for Humanity and Nature that this place has known throughout the centuries.

Chamai has its origins in the rich story of a family who, despite the changing times, have always found happiness in the closeness to nature. They bought the Presbytery in 1986 and have spend almost every weekend and holiday here for more than two generations. Their love and care has enlivened the place and many things have changed. For many years the house has been a gathering place for family and friends. It has always been a place where people have been welcomed, where they have enjoyed the peace and quiet of the place, and where they have been in touch with themselves, each other and Nature.

Out of gratitude for what the place has given them during their lives, the youngest generation of the family dreamed to share this richness and sense of belonging. It is in this spirit that we decided to open our home to you, to offer you a wide range of workshops and trainings.

Through these, we hope to make you experience what it means to call a place home, to feel welcomed and to develop a strong relationship and sense of belonging, with yourself and the whole of Nature.

We look forward to welcoming you to our home and sharing the stories of this beautiful place with you!