With God’s help and the blessing of our Metropolitan, monastic life in our newly founded Monastery began in February 2017. The brotherhood has been blessed to receive from the donors of the Monastery property a two story house, the donors’ home for the past 17 years, part of which dates to the late 1700’s. While the house has decent living conditions, it needs to be adapted to serve its new function as a monastery.
Monastery Chapel and Cells
Shortly after moving into the Monastery, we set up a chapel in one of the three rooms on the first floor of the existing building. This chapel has served us well for our first few months in the Monastery. However, it cannot hold more than seven people comfortably. This room is also just next door to the kitchen, which means that the meal for trapeza cannot be prepared without distracting sounds and smells passing through an open entrance to the chapel. For these reasons the brotherhood decided to plan for a new and permanent church or chapel as soon as possible.
After considering our current circumstances and consulting with building specialists, it became clear that, while we hope one day to build, with God’s help, a catholicon – the main monastery church, it was more expedient and affordable at this time to expand and remodel one of the other rooms in our house to serve as a permanent chapel.
Along with work on the chapel, we also planned to construct new monastic cells and an office out of a larger open room on the second floor of our house. The cells will allow the brothers to reside in separate rooms, and the new office space is the only available space in our building for desk work. This past Spring an architect and contractor volunteered to plan the needed renovations, and work began shortly thereafter.
Together with the building project, the brotherhood has been working to provide for its own daily needs. With donations received for specific purposes the brotherhood has been able to prepare fields for planting. This included removing stones, building deer fences, and amending the soil. These donations also enabled us to purchase a greenhouse and plant an orchard and vegetable gardens. The harvest from the gardens has supplied the brotherhood with produce for the last several months and has allowed us to can food for the winter. A storage barn is expected to be installed in the coming months.
Current Stage of Our Building Project
Since work on our building project began, we have strengthened the foundation of the future chapel, added new joists which extend the chapel to the east, removed the existing eastern wall and started framing a new wall. Also, we have constructed partitions for the new monastic cells. Much of the work so far has been carried out by the brotherhood and volunteer labor, but we need to raise an additional $25,000 to complete this current phase of construction. This phase includes completing the walls of the altar area, replacing and repositioning windows, laying a new foundation to extend the chapel to the west, building a hallway which will connect the chapel with the rest of the house, modifying a bathroom to meet handicap accessibility standards, and building a bell tower above the new altar area. This estimate also includes exterior insulation and stucco siding. We hope to complete this work before the winter. Please help us to accomplish this time-sensitive phase of our project by making a donation.
Stage Two of the Building Project
Before the new chapel can be opened to the public, building code requires us to provide a handicap accessible ramp and entrance. These will be constructed in the second phase of renovations next spring, along with a dormer on the second floor to accommodate a bathroom for guest quarters.
How Can I Help?
Our greatest need right now is to complete the first phase of our building project. We need to raise $25,000 to complete the work listed above and to prepare our chapel for the winter. The Monastery also needs a new or used pick-up truck to assist in construction, transporting agricultural items, and driving into town in winter snow. The only vehicle the brotherhood owns is a Honda sedan which has almost 200,000 miles.
Please consider making a tax deductible donation to St. John the Baptist Monastery. You may do so by selecting one of the following options:
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St. John the Baptist Monastery
31 Bass Rd.
Warwick, MA 01378
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