A Monastery in the Heart of Harvard Square? True.

A Sanctuary For Many And Reopening After 2-Year Renovation.

Sep 20, 2011, 17:00 ET from Society of Saint John the Evangelist

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE), a monastery located in Harvard Square, announces that after a 2-year $11 million renovation they have re-opened to the public.

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist is unique in that it was founded with the unusual intention to be both contemplative in prayer and actively responsive to the world. The Brothers of SSJE are steeped in ancient monastic traditions yet thoroughly engaged in contemporary culture.  To achieve this they located their Monastery, not in some isolated spot but in Harvard Square, to offer a place of calm and contemplation in the heart of the city.

"Our mission is to offer this Monastery as a still point in the midst of the city. We Brothers are committed to stand in the full flow of the modern life whilst at the same time inviting men and women to stop, to be still, to reflect and in that quiet place to know and receive the love of God," said Brother Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE's elected Superior.

Worshippers and retreatants are welcome to come and pray and remain completely anonymous, if they wish.  Or they can engage.  The welcome is always warm.  Guests typically, like the Brothers, spend most of their time in silence.

Brother Geoffrey went on to say, "Our Monastery is welcoming to people of all faiths, whoever they are, wherever they are.  We see many people who are struggling. We also see dignitaries, CEOs, and senior clergy. For all of them our Monastery is a sanctuary, a place of reflection, a place to be vulnerable, a safe place to come and be themselves before God, a place to find strength and spiritual healing.  Everything can be renewed, redeemed, and restored."

For those interested in joining the Brothers for worship or a retreat, they can visit the SSJE website for the service schedule and for retreat information.

Photos are available upon request

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist is a community of men giving their whole selves over to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Founded in the parish of Cowley in Oxford, England in 1866, SSJE was the first stable religious community of men to be established in the Anglican Church since the Reformation. Rooted in the ancient monastic traditions of prayer and community life, and critically engaged with contemporary culture, the Brothers seek to know and share an authentic experience of God's love and mercy. They live a common life shaped by worship, prayer, and their Rule of Life.

The Monastery in Harvard Square is built on land purchased for the Society by philanthropist Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1936.  SSJE has 17 Brothers who live by a monastic cycle of prayer.  The Brothers strive to be "men of the moment," responding to contemporary issues. The Monastery is open six days a week. SSJE is has an international community of associates in the Fellowship of Saint John. They maintain a retreat house in West Newbury, MA, in addition the Guesthouse at the Monastery in Harvard Square and welcome more than 2,000 guests each year.  

SOURCE Society of Saint John the Evangelist