The Prieuré: A Sense of Place
The Prieuré, under the nourishment of the MacJannets, flourished into a place of learning and vitality. Visitors, be they friends, students, groups or conferences, all enjoyed the beauty that is the Prieuré. Surrounded by the mountains and on the edge of Lake Annecy, the spectacular setting was enhanced by the care and thought the MacJannets brought to the place.
The Prieuré building sits, as it has done for hundreds of years, close to the blue-green waters of Lake Annecy. A sense of peace, a sense of education and a sense of community envelops those who arrive there, whether for the current programs of the Tufts University European Center or in years gone by when the MacJannets still lived.
One visitor wrote: "Ever since I returned from out little trip to France, I have been wanting to drop you a line to congratulate you on the wonderful job you are doing as host and hostess of the Prieuré (sic). You make everyone who comes into your lovely home feel so welcome and relaxed, and you have made the old monastery into a comfortable, gracious home! Certainly the international conferences that meet under you roof are fortunate."1 This was often the response from visitors who felt the care and concern that the MacJannets poured into the building.
No matter which MacJannet place, the Prieuré, their home in Geneva, or the school at St. Cloud, visitors were welcomed and made to feel a part of a community. Often this involved being put to work by Donald on whichever home improvement project was currently underway. Even first time visitors were sometimes handed a hammer.
Those who visited were much influenced: "I hope that after a few years at the bank I can return to the realm of public and international policy about which I first learned at Fletcher and at Le Prieuré and help to make my own contribution to a safer and saner world"2 writes one student who was inspired by the MacJannets and the Prieuré.
The Prieuré held an important place in the history of the region as well. Charlotte strongly felt that "the Prieuré is one of the places deeply rooted in the consciousness of the French as belonging to their culture and that our task is to acknowledge this fact, and if possible help our American owner understand how important it is to the French."3 Charlotte and Donald understood the task they had of restoring the building but also of letting it be of use as it once had been. The sense of place of the Prieuré lies partly in the use it receives and the fact that the fashion in which the MacJannets welcomed all who came with such care and spirit is still there today.