Brighton, Massachusetts Historical Summary
In 1907 the Passionists received permission to establish a monastery in Boston. Father Fidelis Kent Stone, husband, father and widower, former Episcopal minister, President of Kenyon and Hobart Colleges, convert, Paulist priest and Passionist, pioneered the effort. In 1908 the Nevins Estate in Brighton was purchased. Dedicated in 1911, St. Gabriel’s Monastery, built with attention to Spanish architecture, was soon home to a small community of itinerant preachers and a public chapel where many came for spiritual consolation. St. Gabriel’s also served as a Passionist house of studies. From 1911 to 1978, St. Gabriel’s was home to a laymen’s retreat movement. A separate retreat wing was added to the monastery in 1927 and expanded in 1950. In the post-conciliar era this ministry grew and changed from a monastic style retreat to a team approach.
In 1928 a church was built on the property to replace the chapel. Weekly devotions in honor of Passionists saints, an outreach to the community, especially the many hospitals and public housing developments, and an option for the poor with parish projects have been important ministries over the decades.
From 1970 until 1977, a portion of the monastery served as the first Passionist health care facility. In 1978 the Passionists decided to close St. Gabriel’s Monastery due to financial concerns and lack of personnel. In 1980 it was sold to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. From the early 1980s until the late 1990s, a small Passionist community resided at St. Gabriel’s Residence, adjacent to the original property.
In 1934 St. Gabriel’s Parish was created, with offices in the monastery. In 1966 Our Lady of Fatima Shrine was built by the monastery community, but now the services are conducted by church and lay personnel. In 1967 a convent was completed for the parish school; however, by 1970 the school closed, the Sisters of St. Joseph moved, and the Passionist parish staff relocated in the convent. The school building has remained a vibrant site for alternative educational programs. In the 1970s a Spanish liturgy was initiated in the parish.