In the late 19th century, the Back Bay was quite the hoity-toity place. It was the premier residential neighborhood of the Yankee aristocracy. But also populating the neighborhood were hundreds of working class maids and coachmen who served the wealthy residents of the neighborhood. St. Cecilia Parish, located in the Back Bay at 18 Belivdere Street in Boston, was established in 1888 to serve this less affluent population.
The Romanesque, 12th Century Norman church was dedicated in 1894, and featured a main altar carved from a single marble block. In 1954 a lavish reproduction of da Vinci’s “Last Supper” was added. While the church has undergone various renovations over the years, the work done in the past calendar year has gone great lengths to restoring the property to its prior glory. Shawmut Design and Construction, working with Architect Donham and Sweeney Inc, installed a new two story glass and steel addition at the site of the demolished Parish House. Other additions included new slate roofing and masonry repointing of 80% of the façade, as well as a restoration and cleaning of the original ceiling and stained glass windows.
Amazingly, the church remained open during the ten month long construction period, and now members of the parish and the general public from all walks of life have the opportunity to enjoy St. Cecilia’s in its original glory.