A nonprofit organization formed by the Federalist Society's Leonard Leo purchased St. Ignatius Church in Northeast Harbor in March 2023. Credit: Town of Mount Desert property records

A nonprofit organization formed by Leonard Leo, the wealthy conservative activist who helped reshape the U.S. Supreme Court, has purchased a church near his Northeast Harbor home.

Leo incorporated the charitable nonprofit, Sacred Spaces Foundation, in Virginia last summer, according to The Lever, which first reported on the church purchase. Chelsea Holdings, LLC, a Maine company that listed Sacred Spaces Foundation as its manager, bought St. Ignatius Church in March for $2.7 million from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, according to property records.

Sacred Spaces Foundation says its purpose includes “educating the public on the importance of religious expression and human rights of conscience,” according to The Lever.

“Sacred Spaces Foundation is caring for Saint Ignatius Catholic Church on Mount Desert Island in Maine because it is a significant historical, spiritual, and artistic landmark,” Leo said in a statement to the news site, adding: “This was the first of several efforts that are being undertaken by the foundation in its first year to highlight the beauty and value of sacred spaces and art, as well as literary works, in our local communities, centers of faith and civil society.”

Leo’s Mount Desert Island mansion has been the site of semi-regular protests by liberal activists since the longtime Federalist Society leader purchased it in 2018. His growing role in politics has spurred more frequent protests, including after the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights last year.

A protester arrested outside his home after cursing at Leo on a nearby street last July sued local police for false arrest in federal court last week, saying they violated his rights by arresting him at Leo’s behest.

Paul Koenig is chief digital editor at the Bangor Daily News. He previously spent six years at Maine magazine, as managing editor and then editor. Before that he worked at Old Port magazine, Mainebiz and...