History

Etheldred Breeze Barry, an author and illustrator of children’s books, sketched the children in the neighborhood for her book illustrations. Soon they were engaged in conversations about daily and worldly happenings, prayers followed, and in time a small wooden chapel was built on her property by the parents in the neighborhood. With the encouragement and assistance of friends and the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, especially Father Powell, SSJE, the Order of St. Anne was established in 1910 and Ethledred Breeze Barry became the first mother Superior. Soon others joined her and so the story continues to this day to the same hillside in Arlington from which the Order began. Her “small house in Arlington” as it was known then is now home to the Bethany House of Prayer. The presence and ministry of the Sisters of St. Anne has stretched across continents and cultures for 100 years. Sisters were invited to England, China, St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, New Zealand and the Philippines.  In the United States, they established houses in Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, Oneida, WI, Kingston, NY, Tennessee,  Lincoln, MA, Cambridge, MA, Boston, MA, Rockport, MA and Foxboro, MA. They set up houses for children and women, schools, hospitals and missions, undertook relief work, assisted with diocesan ministries, and for many years were enriched by the lives and care of developmentally disabled women. Today, they are a multi-cultural community of five Sisters. Their witness to Christ in prayer, hospitality, worship and service continues to this day and gives rise to new growth.

Catch the Vision. Hold it in trust. Carry it on. You have always to be looking further, opening doors and going through them. All before was But a preparation for something further. Father Cary, SSJE Words said to the Sisters soon after their founding in 1910 which are now on a banner in their Chapel and give encouragement to all who journey there.