Since 1931 The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) have operated a retreat house here for the spiritual development of the laity. The grounds and several of the buildings were the site and home of Jefferson College founded for the education of the youth of St. James Parish. For the Greater Glory of God
The main building dates from 1842; the President's House and Gate Houses from 1836.
After Jefferson College failed in 1848, Louis Dufau of New Orleans operated the Louisiana College here; this college failed in 1856. In 1859, Valcour Aime purchased the site and erected a chapel in memory of his children. From 1862 - 1864, the Federal Troops occupied the buildings during the Civil War.
In 1864, Mr. Aime donated the properties to The Society of Mary (Marists) who established St. Mary's Jefferson College, which operated until 1927, when it closed.
The Jesuits purchased the properties in 1931 and since that time have conducted retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Each year over 5,000 laypersons, religious and priests make retreats here.