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 donation - $250,000 - almost half the expected cost - to put toward the project. We 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 before the renovation

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 1930'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 decided to complete the full demolition of the inside.

Gutted carriage house
Framing for new windows


Gutted carriage house
Framing for new windows

We are now doing whatever needs to be done to winterize the building so we can stop if necessary and start up at a later date when we raise the rest of the money.

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 or use the Paypal button below. 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 which was held this summer.

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.

Br. Luke attended one of our Monastic Experience Weekends to help him in his journey. Think you may be called to become a monk? Find out about them here.

New postulant