The History of the Franciscan Guest House and Franciscan Monastery near Kennebunkport ME
The Franciscan Monastery Estate was formerly owned by the Rogers family of Buffalo, New York. In 1900, William A. Rogers, Esq. commissioned the architectural firm of Green and Wicks to build a “splendid house in the Tudor style”. Landscaping was arranged by the Frederick Law Olmsted Brothers, designers of New York City’s Central Park, and Boston’s Emerald Necklace. In 1937, the Rogers family sold the estate to William Campbell, “a gentleman of entrepreneurial fortune”. In 1947, the estate was purchased by Lithuanian Friars of St. Casimir who had fled the Soviet Invasion of Lithuania. St. Anthony’s became a religious center for the friars, the Lithuanian diaspora, and many others.
In the 1950’s the friars built St. Anthony’s high school primarily for boys of Lithuanian Heritage. The stables were converted for high school use, and new brick buildings were added in the early 1960’s including main classroom building, the gymnasium, and pool. The Friars served as both administrators and teachers. Some of these friars still live at the Monastery to this day. In 1969, the high school closed, and the property became a year round hotel/guest house and retreat center.
From the time the friars arrived in 1947, the stables were also used for retreat and vacation, as well as housing for Lithuanians arriving from Europe. After the high school gym was built, the facilities were also used by year round retreat groups and vacationers often when school was not in session. When the high school closed, the property was formally converted to a full time hotel and retreat center. Groups came from all over the Northeast for Marriage Encounter, student camps, the annual Lithuanian summer festivals, Boy Scouts, vacations and much more. Sometimes large Boy Scout troops would sail up the river from afar to make their retreat at the Franciscan facilities. In the early 2000’s the friars embarked on a program to gradually upgrade the facilities and this work continues today.
The Franciscan Guest House is a non profit hotel. The proceeds go to the friars’ many charities. The lawns and gardens are beautiful and close to the river, beach and the downtown shopping area. In keeping with Franciscan tradition, the hotel is of simple décor. In keeping with the friars heritage, Lithuanian food, decor and summer staff are an important part of the atmosphere. Guests come from all over the world to find spiritual and physical renewal. We hope you find that the friars, staff and fellow guests provide a unique sense of friendliness and care.
Directions to Franciscan Guest House
26 Beach Ave, Kennebunk, Maine 04043
Google Maps Directions
From the South:
- Take the Maine Turnpike (95) to Wells, Exit 19 (formerly Exit 2).
- At the end of the ramp, turn left at the traffic light onto Rt. 109 South for 1.6 miles.
- At the next traffic light, turn left onto Rt. 1 North for 1.8 miles.
- Turn right on Rt. 9 East for 4.2 miles until you come to the intersection of Routes 9 & 35 (Western Ave & Beach Ave). There is a Sunoco Station on the corner. Take a right onto Beach Avenue. We are .2 miles on your left.
- As you enter the estate, you will bear left into a parking lot. As you enter the parking lot, the Main Guest House will be directly in front of you. Enter the front door of the building and the office is the second door on the left.
From the North:
- Take the Maine Turnpike (95) to Kennebunk, Exit 25 (formerly Exit 3).
- At the end of the off ramp, turn left.
- At the next light, turn left onto Rt. 35 South.
- Proceed 1.8 miles on Rt. 35 to Kennebunk.
- Turn left at the light onto Rt. 1 for one block.
- At the next light, take the right onto Rt. 35 South/Maine 9A East.
- Continue for 3.5 miles through one signal light.
- At the next light, cross Rt. 9 / Western Ave., we are .2 miles on the left. As you enter the estate, you will bear left into a parking lot.
- As you enter the parking lot, the Main Guest House will be directly in front of you. Enter the front door of the building and the office is the second door on the left.
Your GPS may send you to Kennebunkport but we are actually located a 1/2 mile from Kennebunkport center across the bridge in Kennebunk. Please feel free to call if you have questions or can’t find us.
Contact us at the Franciscan Guest House
Thank you for interest in our hotel located in Kennebunk Maine, minutes from Kennebunkport and the beach.
If you are interested in availability and rate quotes, you may use our online inquiry form. We’re also happy to call you if you include your number on the form.
After you receive an answer to your inquiry, if you’d like to make a reservation, please call with a Visa or MasterCard number. A deposit is required and can only be taken by phone at this time. See our reservation policies for more information.
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Mail or visit us: 26 Beach Avenue, Kennebunk, Maine 04043
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