smiling friar in bedroom

Br. Vince Delorenzo in the bedroom of one of the newly renovated suites.

Creating practical yet comfortable spaces for friars, guests and retreatants is the goal of a recently completed renovation project at St. Anthony Friary & Shrine.

Discussions about possible renovations, including adding private bathrooms to friar rooms, began several years ago and were resurrected when Vince Delorenzo came on board as guardian. “We just saw the need for it,” Vince explained.

The work was initially delayed due to COVID, Vince explained, with construction workers hard to find and a shortage of needed building and plumbing supplies. The project finally got under way in March and is nearly complete, with the exception of some general clean up. Three friars – Bill Farris, Jerry Beetz and David Kobak – have already moved into their new spaces.

office and lounge

left: The office area in Fr. Bill Farris’ new space; right: The reading area i one of the new suites. Photos by Sr. Eileen Connelly, OSU

“My new room was worth the wait. The workmanship that went into the renovation is excellent,” Bill said. “My thanks to Vince for seeing this project through to the end.”

Each of the nine newly renovated suites includes a sitting room with a comfortable work and reading area, a bedroom and spacious private bathroom featuring a vanity with plenty of storage and a large shower. There are three friar suites on the second floor of the friary, and three for guests and possible retreatants on the first floor (adding to the one guest suite already there).

“It’s exciting that if people would like to make a retreat here, we can offer that now,” Vince said. “We haven’t been able to offer retreat space in the past. The property is so beautiful here, so quiet and secluded, with a view of Mt. Airy Forest. We’d love to encourage more visitors to the Shrine.”

sinks and shower

The new bathrooms include a spacious shower and vanity with plenty of storage. Photos by Sr. Eileen Connelly, OSU