The St. Bonaventure Friary

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A view of the St. Bonaventure Friary from campus

The friars of Saint Bonaventure University are an integral part of the university's history and campus life. The majority of the friars currently reside at the St. Bonaventure Friary, which is located near the main entrance to St. Bonaventure along Route 417. Over the years, the friars have resided in many of Bonaventure's buildings, including the original Monastery and Chapel, Devereux Hall, and Doyle Hall, before finally moving into the Friary in 1986.

To see a timeline of the friars' movements at St. Bonaventure, click here.

The Franciscan Friars first arrived in Western New York in 1855. They initially lived at the McMahon House in Ellicottville while they waited for the first college building, the Monastery and Chapel, to be completed. In 1858, the friars officially moved onto the campus of St. Bonaventure's College. They lived in the Monastery which later was expanded to include a seminary and church.
The Monastery and Chapel served as the friars' home for nearly 75 years. However, on May 5, 1930, everything changed. A devastating fire swept through the Monastery and Chapel, completely destroying the building. In order to house the friars and seminarians, a new wing was added onto Devereux Hall, which had been recently constructed on campus. Although the seminarians would move out of Dev and into Christ the King Seminary in 1951, Devereux Hall would remain home to the friars of St. Bonaventure for over 30 years.

In 1961, a new friary was dedicated at St. Bonaventure. Now called Doyle Hall, the St. Bonaventure friary included 100 dorm rooms for the friars, as well as a chapel. The friars moved in immediately, freeing up much-needed space for student housing in Devereux Hall.
In the 1980s, partially due to the declining population of the Franciscan community, and partially due to the university's need for more student housing and office space, it was decided that the St. Bonaventure Friary would be sold to the university. The funds that were acquired by the Franciscans from the sale were used to build the new St. Bonaventure friary, close to the main entrance to campus along Route 417. The new friary was dedicated on September 26, 1986, and the old Friary began its new career as Doyle Hall, providing dorm and office space for the campus community.

A view of the St. Bonaventure Friary from Route 417

According to the 1987 Provincial Annals of Holy Name Province, the St. Bonaventure friary was designed by the Stetson-Harza architectural firm of Utica, New York. The main building faces away from the road and towards campus, in order to maintain the friary's close connection to St. Bonaventure University. The friary itself is composed of several common living areas flanked by individual living units. The common areas of the friary house the chapel, kitchens and dining area, and the recreation room. To the East of the common areas, each friar has his own bedroom and bathroom. The living quarters located to the West of the common rooms are currently used for housing visitors.

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Timeline of Friars' movements

Year Location Notes
1855 Ellicottville, NY The friars arrived from Italy in June. They moved into the McMahon House in Ellicottville, where they remained until the completion of the monastery and chapel in 1858.
1858 Allegany, NY Construction of the Monastery and Chapel completed, and it becomes home to the friars, students, and seminarians.
1930 Monastery & Chapel The Monastery and Chapel is completely destroyed by a fire on 5 May.
1930 Devereux Hall A west wing is added onto Dev as housing for the friars and seminarians.
1951 Francis Hall Construction of Christ the King Seminary (later Francis Hall) is completed, and the seminarians are moved to the new building. The friars remain in Devereux Hall.
1961 Doyle Hall Construction of the St. Bonaventure Friary (later Doyle Hall) is completed.
1986 New Friary The friars move into the newly constructed friary, located near the main entrance to campus. The old friary is converted into Doyle Hall.

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Page created by Ellen Winger, Summer 2010
Last update: 07 Sep 2010