The Columban Fathers had conducted their first retreat in 1929, and in the following years the demand for Columban retreats greatly increased.
In the 1940s, the Columban leadership in the U.S., particularly Father Paul Waldron, brought up the idea of purchasing a property specifically for retreats.
The Columbans set their sight on an estate in the hamlet of Derby, New York, located in the Buffalo area, close to the Columban property at Silver Creek. This property, at 6892 Old Lake Shore Road, included a house and about sixteen acres of picturesque land near the shores of Lake Erie.
A Catholic association, the St. Columban’s Layman’s Retreat League, purchased the property in 1946 and the Columban Fathers began to organize retreats there.
In 1949, this league, in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus, paid off some debts on the property, and on October 9, 1949, presented the deed to the Derby House to the Columban Fathers.
During the next three decades, the Derby House served as a center for retreats, vocations and Mission Education, promotions, and many other Columban activities.
The Columbans transferred ownership of the Derby property to the Archdiocese of Buffalo, New York in March 1982. But the legacy of Derby lives on, and many fond memories remain.