When you hear the term “Franciscan monastery,” you probably picture a European setting, which is sensible. Did you know that there’s a Kennebunkport Franciscan Monastery, though? It’s true. Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery has been here since 1947 – it’s one of the area’s more popular attractions!
St Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery wasn’t always that, however. In fact, after the arrival of Europeans, it started off as farmland. Farmland it remained until 1900, when it was purchased by an iron magnate from Buffalo named William Rogers.
Rogers vision for the land went well beyond farming. He had a 6,000 square foot Tudor mansion built on the property and hired the Olmstead Brothers for his landscaping. If the Olmstead name sounds familiar to you, it should. They designed the Boston Commons, Central Park, and the gardens at both the White House and Capitol Building in DC, to name but a few.
Rogers named the estate “Fairfields” – and so it remained for nearly half a century. In 1947, the property was sold to The Society of Franciscan Fathers of Greene, Maine.
Saint Anthony’s Kennebunkport Franciscan Monastery
The Franciscans wasted no time in transforming the property to their needs.
The lush Tudor mansion was embellished with the Shrine of St. Anthony, the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, and the Chapel of the Stations of the Cross. The Society of Franciscan Fathers is of Lithuanian origin and the shrines are monuments of Lithuanian architectural art. Both were designed by Jonas Mulokas, winner of the First Prize of the American Architects Association.
St. Anthony’s Chapel, built in the mid 1960’s, does a wonderful job of combining new and old traditions. The chapel’s stunning stained glass was designed by famous Lithuanian architect and artist, Vytautas K. Jonynas.
Visiting Saint Anthony’s
You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate the beauty of the Kennebunkport Franciscan Monastery. The lush gardens, beautiful shrines and statuary and architecture charm all who appreciate such things.
Explore the paved walking paths that wind through the landscaped gardens, woodlands, and along the Kennebunk river. Benches set along the paths provide a spot to rest and take in your surroundings. The property also provides stunning views of Kennebunkport harbor that will knock your socks off (so be sure to bring your socks).
Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery grounds at 28 Beach Ave, Kennebunk, ME are open to the public, from sunrise to sunset. The monastery gift shop is open 7 days a week, from March 1st to December 24th. Saint Anthony’s is an active monastery, holding regular Masses and offerings, so please be respectful during your visit.
You can also visit Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery online at www.framon.net.
Christmas Prelude 2018
As mentioned in our last post, Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery will host Candlelight Caroling Saturday, December 1st, at 6:30pm for Christmas Prelude 2018.
If you’re planning on attending Christmas Prelude – or whatever brings you to the Kennebunks, treat yourself to a stay at Captain Jefferds Inn. We’re currently offering a 3 for 2 Kennbunkport lodging special for the month of November: Stay two nights midweek (Sunday-Thursday) and get the third night FREE!
Read more details on our Kennebunkport lodging specials page.