Conventual Church of St. Mary and St. John

Conventual Church of St. Mary and St. John

Cram & Ferguson, 1937

Harleston Parker Medal, 1939

National Register of Historic Places

Isabella Stewart Gardiner purchased and donated this formerly-industrial piece of riverfront land as the site for a new Episcopal Church compound. Her gift, made when the neighbors were the old MBTA depot and the Harvard University Press, has been well served by the transformation of this area over recent decades.

Ralph Adam Cram’s Italianate-Romanesque design was a departure from his usual neo-gothic style, as he looked to 12th-century France for inspiration. The building is relatively austere, its connection to history made with pitched roofs, stone walls and simple arched windows – with only limited ornamentation. Nine monks, members of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, and visitors who use the guesthouse as a spiritual retreat, are encouraged to live lives of similar austerity. A recent $11M renovation has brought the buildings up to date. To learn more, see

Image: By Daderot - Own work, Public Domain,