St. Mary's Monastery Renovation - Phase 2

Last year, after many years of thought, planning, and fundraising, we finally were able to fully renovate the part of our monastery that was formerly our sisters' bakery. Transforming a simple steel sheet structure into a real modern living space was a major project that went on for almost a year, as we ran into a few obstacles along the way. But we finally moved into our new residence in September of last year. In August of last year, we had an open house for friends and the new building was blessed by Fr. Abbot. (See our Facebook album "The New St. Mary's Monastery" for more photos and information about the renovation.)
Blessing the building
Part of our new building

It cannot be understated what this has meant to the community. After over two decades of living in makeshift conditions, having a building which interiorly looks and feels like a monastery, a sacred space, well insulated and easily kept up has been a real blessing. Large windows open up to us the beauty of the surrounding area and the simple pleasures of enjoying the sunsets and the wonders in the night sky. A modern kitchen *almost* makes cooking a joy. Most importantly, we now have more rooms to house more monks.

Our new building
Fr. Abbot with Fr. Gregory
blessing the new building

But this was only the first phase of a two-phase project. The next phase, to renovate the carriage house - the building we just moved out of - was expected to slowly take shape in the near future. Unexpectedly, we were given a large pledge - $250,000 of matching funds - about half the expected cost - to put toward the project. We hurriedly brought back our construction team to size up the project.

The carriage house gets its name from (we assume) housing carriages for horses in the 1930's as well as providing living quarters for servants. In time it became a six car garage. When we arrived on the property, it became the guesthouse. When the monks eventually moved in in 1996, more small bedrooms were built and it became our residence.

Carriage house now
The carriage house now

The carriage house will become the public front entrance to the monastery and will have a reception area and parlor for meeting visitors. For us, it will provide rooms for classes and reading. The left side will become a function room for conferences (sometimes public) or other events. Much of the electrical, plumbing and windows are original from the 30's. It will be brought up to current building and safety codes, and the exterior will match the newly renovated monastery.

The first thing we had to do was determine the current structure of the old building. We were given funds to perform the demolition and it has mostly been completed.

Gutted carriage house
Old living space in carriage house gutted

 

Gutted carriage house
Old bedroom area gutted to become a
conference and reception room

We now need to raise approximately $250,000 to match the donor's pledge in order for the money to be donated.

Even if you cannot afford a six figure sum, we would greatly appreciate any size donation for this project.

Renovated carriage house
Architectural model of new carriage house with front entrance and reception area


If you wish to play a part in the reconstruction of our monastery by making a donation of whatever size, you can mail us a donation, use the Paypal button below, or contact Br. Vincent for credit card donations over the phone. Thank you!

To donate by check, please make it out to
St. Mary's Monastery and mail to:

St. Mary's Monastery
P.O. Box 345
Petersham, MA 01366
Attention: Building Fund, Br. Vincent

or donate with a credit card or Paypal account using
Paypal's secure site:



St. Mary's Monastery is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
All donations are tax-deductable. We will not give out your
personal information to any other organization.

Fr. Dunstan on Boston Catholic TV

Fr. Dunstan appeared on the "This is the Day" show in May to talk about St. Mary's and the Pluscarden Pilgrimage see below also).

Pluscarden Pilgrimage June - September 2017

Pluscarden Pilgrimage
Our motherhouse, Pluscarden Abbey (founded 1230 AD), is conducting a 1230 mile pilgrimage from their founding monastery in France to the Abbey in an effort to raise funds for a major building renovation. There will be 13 legs of roughly 80 miles with different groups of pilgrims each week, with daily Mass and talks. They’re looking for physical pilgrims (to walk), virtual pilgrims (to pray and offer organizational help), and financial pilgrims (who can help cover costs.) Academic credits available for US college students.

For more information contact Fr. Dunstan at St. Mary's at
monks@stmarysmonastery.org or 978–724–3350.
Pluscarden Pilgrimage
Pluscarden Pilgrimage
Click here for info & maps.

To donate to the Pluscarden Pilgrimage, please make a check
out to St. Mary's Monastery and mail to:

Br. Vincent
P.O. Box 345
Petersham, MA 01366
Attention: PILGRIMAGE


or donate with a credit card or Paypal account using Paypal's secure site:

New Novice

On March 18, Tim DeCourcey, from Massachusetts, was clothed as Br. Luke. Please pray for him as he begins his two year novitiate.

New postulant

Monastic Experience Weekend at St. Mary's

Monastic Experience Weekend

Have you ever thought that your call is to do something bigger than yourself? Or wondered if God is calling you to a deeper encounter with Him? Have you considered transcending the ordinary? Come and see.

We are inviting single men (18 – 40 years old) for a weekend opportunity to experience from within the rhythm and balance of Benedictine monastic prayer and community life in a house of Benedictine monks.

We had two men join us for a weekend in early June. The next Monastic Experience Weekend is planned for November 2017.

If you would like more information please contact Father Gregory at monks@stmarysmonastery.org or call him at 978–724–3350.