BETHANY CENTENNIAL GARDEN
The goal for the new space is to capture the historic and religious significance of the site where the Bethany Motherhouse once stood. The Martha Story is told through interpretive panels and the incorporation of the salvaged landmarks from the Motherhouse building, such as the bell tower or the steeple. The garden/park provides green spaces, walking paths, and a few contemplative areas. Sisters of St. Martha welcome the larger community to enjoy this unique place.
Click on the images below to read more about Bethany Centennial Garden:
(deconstructed in 2019)
In 1921, the Sisters moved into a new motherhouse located on the outskirts of Antigonish, on the hill overlooking town and county. It was named "Bethany" after the home of the congregation's patroness, Saint Martha. For 97 years, the beloved Bethany was a vibrant center of life and prayer. The building provided a warm and welcoming space for the Sisters who lived there, for the large number of visitors who came as friends, as people of faith or as people needing support and healing, and for staff who assisted them in extending Gospel Hospitality.
BUILDINGS ON BETHANY PROPERTY
MOUNT CARMEL ADMINISTRATION CENTRE
The building houses the offices of Congregation Leader, Councillors, General Treasurer, General Secretary, Finance Department and General Administration Staff.
BETHANY RESOURCE CENTRE
The new home of CSM Archives and Heritage Collection, provides Sisters of Saint Martha with a beautiful space to house their sacred documents and items that have given life to "the Common Martha Heart". The building also offers a Gathering Room for meetings and events.
JEROME SULLIVAN CENTRE: FACILITIES MANAGEMENT
The newly redesigned hub of Bethany Property housekeeping and maintenance staff.
The sisters who live in this house serve the congregation and the wider Antigonish community.
Solitude and silence allow for a new hearing and healing from the stillness and deep connections to God through the beauty and wonder of the Universe. Our two Hermitages, located on Bethany Property and surrounded by old growth forest, are modern, fully furnished and conducive to contemplation. To arrange your stay at a hermitage contact us by email at
MORE ON BETHANY GROUNDS
ST. THERESA'S GARDEN
St. Theresa's Garden invites everyone to enjoy the delight of a pond (home to fish and frogs), flowerbeds, trees and very friendly squirrels and chickadees. The statue of St. Theresa, the Little Flower of Jesus, welcomes the visitor. The traditional, devotional Way of the Cross is next to the pond. Across the path is a beautiful grotto to Our Lady of Fatima.
CONTEMPLATIVE WALKING TRAIL
Sisters of St. Martha have built this trail for contemplation and reflection. It is designed for all-season walking or snowshoeing and is complete with benches and trail maps at intersections. All, except pets, are welcome to experience and appreciate it. Feel, with all your senses, your connectedness to the Universe and all of God's creation and enjoy the diverse ecology of the trail. please use the trail reverently and quietly. Go in Peace...
MARTHA NEW GROWERS FIELDS
In 2013, Bethany grounds welcomed a new initiative, Martha New Growers. Sisters of St. Martha initiated a partnership with well established organic gardeners, Jen and David Greenberg, to begin an apprenticeship program in economically viable and environmentally friendly vegetable gardening. The Greenbergs are the program managers and mentors. The Sisters of St. Martha are providing the land (one acre) and the support structures for season extension growing.
Bethany grounds also shelter the last resting place of most of the Martha Sisters. There is a commemorative plaque in the graveyard, recognizing other sites where Marthas are buried. See list of names of all deceased Marthas (*last updated on Nov 10, 2022) and find grave location on a downloadable map. To view most recent obituaries of our deceased Sisters, go to our In Memoriam page.
BETHANY TREE WALK - ARBORETUM
Bethany grounds was the home for many trees before it became the home of the Marthas and many of the trees the Sisters planted will live on into a future they will not see. The trees have been a great blessing to the Sisters and the Arboretum will speak to the times of shared history. The vision behind the idea of Bethany Arboretum is that the trees on the property are living reminders to Sisters and visitors of the interconnectedness of all creation. By associating trees with Martha events and values, we honour the deep connection of our shared journey.
ARBORETUM PROJECT UPDATE:
Phase 1 completed in 2017 with 25 trees identified on the property with their scientific names, descriptions and history, named to commemorate people and events in Martha story. Phase 2 completed in 2022. An additional 25 trees have been added to form a 50-tree Bethany Tree Walk. Some trees were lost in September 2022 to Hurricane Fiona. Each tree has its information plaque placed around it and many have dedications. Additional information is available on a customized Google map (QR code is available to scan at the Bethany Arboretum Information Booth). A new edition of the trifold brochure with additional information on each tree can be found at the Booth. We also have a website gallery of Arboretum trees with their descriptions - what previously was available in the booklet.
ADJACENT TO BETHANY PROPERTY
MARTHA PLACE/MARY'S COURT
at Parkland Antigonish
With time, the operation and maintenance of the outdated Bethany building had become a significant strain on the Congregation resources. In response to the growing need, Marthas established new partnerships with various consultants and Shannex company. A tremendous planning and logistical effort resulted in the construction and the move to a new facility of Parkland Antigonish (2018) and deconstruction of Bethany Motherhouse (2019).
SAINT MARTHA CHAPEL AND HERITAGE GALLERY
at Parkland Antigonish
Bethany Chapel in the now deconstructed Bethany Motherhouse, was a sacred space where Marthas gathered for communal prayer and Eucharist and where they offered hospitality in a special way to the public. The new home in Parkland Antigonish offers a smaller-scale place of worship called Saint Martha Chapel. It includes stained glass windows and many heritage items from the former chapel. Right beside the new chapel, our Heritage Gallery houses the beloved eight long stained-glass windows of eight saints: four active and four contemplative ones. Each woman is shown in the color and symbols that indicate her mission in life. Eventually, Heritage Gallery will feature display cases depicting rich history of CSM and a continuing Martha Story.