After Public Outcry, St. Clare Sisters Decide Not to Raze Monastery

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Many people were upset in March after news broke that the Poor Sisters of St. Clare proposed to sell their monastery for it to be razed and the property redeveloped.

St. Clare Monastery

After hearing that people didn't want the monastery to be razed, the nuns decided to not follow through with that plan. That plan was to sell the property to Holland Development, which would've built 26 townhouses.

With that plan scrapped, the nuns' attorney Marc LaCasse told Jamaica Plain News that while the nuns are no longer pursuing that plan, they do intend to sell the property. He said that alternative plans are in progress, and are continuing to work with Holland Properties as a buyer. He said that the current status of the nuns' plan is a "work in progress, details to follow."

The monastery was built in 1932, and is not on any historical property list, but at least externally to many, it is a beautiful building by Murray Circle at 920 Centre St.

The property consists of 2.88 acres and the monastery is 54,712 sq. ft. which includes a burial chamber/crypt. The crypt is beneath the chapel, and bodies were removed from the property in preparation for the sale.

The nuns had applied for a permit to demolish the property with the Boston Landmarks Commission. In their application they stated that the Poor Sisters can demolish the property under the freedom of religion provided to them by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They also stated that the rights they're provided by the U.S. and Massachusetts Constitutions supersede the authority of the BLC.

There are currently only 10 sisters living at the monastery and the maintenance to take care of the property requires a lot of attention and is burdensome. The plan is for the Poor Sisters to reduce the number of monasteries and plan to purchase another property for more of them to live together.

The city assessed the property at $8.9 million in 2022.

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