New convent being built for Marlborough’s Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Cummings Foundation is currently building a brand new convent for 12 Sisters of the Good Shepherd on the grounds of Marlborough’s New Horizons retirement community. While new convents are a rarity today, this 12,000-square-foot facility is perhaps more unusual in that it is being constructed at no cost to the Order.
The Sister’s new home will combine traditional features, such as a sewing room and parlor, with modern touches, including granite finishes, energy-efficient construction, and an elevated, indoor bridge to connect the Sisters with the services in New Horizons’ main building.
Slated for completion by October 1, the convent will be located at 406 Hemenway Street, directly across from St. Matthias Church. It will be situated on the non-sectarian, 500-resident campus of one of New England’s most successful retirement communities. The framework for the new complex is in place, although it is not visible from beyond New Horizons’ property line.
Robert O’Connor, who has served as New Horizons’ executive director for 20 years, noted that the Sisters do not pay any rent, but do pay for meals.
O’Connor said, “When we first arrived in September 1993, we decided on a price for meals that the Sisters agreed was fair, and that price has not changed in 19 years.”
Kathy Chinappi, RN, lay administrator for the convent for the last 10 years, noted, “The relationship with Cummings Foundation has always been wonderful. New Horizons truly is home for the Sisters.”
Because the Sisters reside on New Horizons’ campus, the independent and assisted living community is able to offer its residents daily Catholic Mass in its magnificent Cardinal Cushing Chapel. The chapel is very conveniently located directly between the new convent and the main building of New Horizons’ assisted living quarters.
For nearly a century, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd ran the House of the Good Shepherd on Mission Hill in Boston. They moved their school to the Marlborough countryside in 1964, where they provided a therapeutic residential program for girls until 1985.
This year, Cummings Foundation is among the larger donors in direct financial grants to other Catholic entities within the Archdiocese. In addition to its commitment to the Sisters in Marlborough for a new convent, the Woburn-based foundation has made grants of $100,000 each to both Catholic Charities and Catholic Charities – North, as well as to Emmanuel College, Catholic Schools Foundation, and Nativity Preparatory School in Jamaica Plain.