Located in the Enfield Shaker Village in Enfield, New Hampshire, this stunning chapel building clearly depicts the significance of religion and faith in the Shaker Community. The church structure however, was built after the Shakers sold the property! In 1923, after 130 years of farming, manufacturing, and productive existence, declining membership forced the Shakers to close their community and put it up for sale. In 1927, the Shakers sold the site to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, an order of Catholic priests, ensuring the continued tradition of spiritual, communal life on the site. The La Salettes also continued the very active agricultural use of the site as well as establishing a seminary and high school here.
The Mary Keane Chapel dates from the post-Shaker era at the Church Family site. Designed by Donat R. Baribault of Springfield, Massachusetts, the chapel was built for the Brothers of the La Salette Order with funds donated by their benefactress, Mary Keane. Ms. Keane, who had inherited a fortune from her uncle, pledged that fortune to assist the La Salette’s in the establishment of a French language seminary in Enfield. Her wealth helped purchase the former Shaker community, renovate the building for La Salette’s use, and build the Mary Keane Chapel.
The property was purchased again in 1985 and has operated as the Enfield Shaker Museum starting in 1986. The museum offers educational exhibits and programs designed to invite active participation in learning about the extraordinary people who once lived and worked here.