Boston Friars Visit Former HNP Sites

John Maganzini, OFM Friar News

BOSTON — Last month, 30 friars and postulants based at St. Anthony Shrine participated in a day of nostalgia.

They began Sept. 28 by gathering in the friars’ chapel of St. Anthony Shrine for Mass, celebrated by Hugh Macsherry, OFM. Gene Pistacchio, OFM, led the music. 

At 9:30 a.m., friars and postulants boarded a tour bus and headed for New Hampshire. First stop was Hampton Beach, where everyone disembarked and walked to the water. After a short stay, the friars got on the bus again for an hour’s ride to Rye Beach, the site of the Province’s former house of studies and retreat center. 

The friars and postulants explored the Austin House, where the friar community once lived. The gardener heard all the talking, saw the bus, and went in to tell the owner of the Austin House. She graciously came out to inquire who this group was. When she heard, she invited everyone in to see the house and all the renovations. From there, the group was off to Portsmouth for lunch at The Rosa Restaurant. 

This was followed by some free time to walk around Portsmouth center. Everyone returned to the bus at 2:30 p.m. and headed back to Massachusetts for the next stop in Brookline, about a half-hour from Boston, the site of our former friary and novitiate house and retreat center many years ago. 

When the bus arrived, the friars and postulants had the opportunity to walk around the front of the building. To everyone’s surprise, a woman came out and asked who the visitors were. She said, “My parents were the first to buy a unit when this building was sold and renovated.”

She and her parents extended an invitation for everyone to come in and see. What an added treat for the day — invitations to enter both buildings. Friars who were stationed in one or both places were very grateful to be able to return and go inside. 

Everyone returned home to a buffet dinner with lots of sharing on the day’s adventure. In his homily that morning, Hugh had said, “During this 800th year, as we remember today, we will return to two of our former places to remember.” 

The outing was organized by guardian David Convertino, OFM, and Richard Flaherty, OFM. 

— Br. John, a vicar at St. Anthony Shrine, is the Province’s director of postulants.