With all the great things to see and do in Kennebunkport, it may be hard to believe that one of our most popular attractions is a Franciscan monastery. Then again, monasteries aren’t exactly typical in the U.S. – and Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery is not your typical monastery.
The property was initially developed as farmland in the 1700’s. It served as farmland for Mitchell family until the 1900’s when it was transferred to an iron magnate from Buffalo named William Rogers. Rogers then set to work transforming the grounds from humble to magnificent.
It was Rogers who had the 6,000 square foot Tudor mansion on the property built. He also had the landscape redesigned by the famous Olmstead Brothers. You may recognize the Olmstead name. Frederick Law Olmstead is the more famous of the two brothers, both of whom designed such landmarks as the Boston Commons, Central Park, and the gardens at both the White House and Capitol Building in DC.
The resulting Grand Estate was named “Fairfields” and served as the Rogers’ family summer home until 1936. The property was then sold to Mildred Campbell, the daughter of a textile tycoon. In 1947, after the death of her husband, Mildred sold Fairfields to The Society of Franciscan Fathers of Greene, Maine.
And that is how a lush Tudor mansion, landscaped by one of the country’s most famous landscape design firms, became a Franciscan Monastery in the Kennebunks.
You don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy the peace and beauty of Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery. People from all denominations and all over come to enjoy the lush gardens and outdoor chapel and shrine. Many come to appreciate the statuary, shrines, and especially the stained glass in the chapel, created by Lithuanian architect and artist Vytautas K. Jonynas. Even more come to explore and meditate on the grounds.
Paved walking paths wend their way through English-style gardens, quiet woodlands, and along the banks of the Kennebunk river. Rhodondendrons, daffodils, azalea, trillium and more flourish seasonally in the gardens. The occasional bench provides a spot to rest and contemplate the serenity of your surroundings. The stunning view of Kennebunkport harbor from the monastery grounds has to be seen to be appreciated.
Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery grounds are open to the public, from sunrise to sunset, year ’round. The gift shop under the chapel is open 7 days a week from March 1st to December 24th. Saint Anthony’s is still an active monastery so, if you visit, do be respectful of the Friars, and their spiritual refuge.
Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery
28 Beach Ave, Kennebunk, ME
Open to the public from sunrise to sunset.
Visit Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery online at www.framon.net.
Saint Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery Lodging
No matter what brings you out to the beautiful Kennebunks, Captain Jefferds Inn would love to be your home away from home. 16 individually decorated rooms await your choice of accommodations and your tongue and tummy will love our three-course breakfasts. We’re consistently ranked number 1 and 2 on Trip Advisor and are proud to maintain a 98% approval rating. Book your stay at Captain Jefferds Inn today!