The Tea Fire in Montecito and Santa Barbara which broke out at 6 p.m. last night has been devastating with more than 100 houses destroyed and one person dead. I was utterly shocked to see on the news tonight that the Episcopal Mt. Calvary Benedictine Monastery in Santa Barbara burned down last night although the brothers were able to get out most of the books, some of the art and the computers. I didn’t realize the fire had gotten that far north. This monastery was home for the Order of the Holy Cross brothers.
I have spent time there twice and it was a spectacular old set of buildings high in the mountains above Mission Santa Barbara. Fr. Tay Moss writes about it as his Ninja Priest blog today.
This was the front door to the main building which had once been an old estate home.
This was the main hallway of the monastery with its beautiful art and antique furniture.
The first time I went there I drove up from L.A. after work and it was already dark. I followed the directions, spiraling up the mountain and got utterly lost. I finally called on my cell phone and one of the brothers guided me in that way. My friend Linda, who lived in Santa Barbara, was to meet me there and she was hours late because she got lost. But, how spectacular to wake up on top of a mountain. One of the brothers is an astronomer and the next night we all went outside and he gave us a tour of the skies with his telescope while we lay on our backs in the grass or on the stone walls. All the food was cooked by the brothers and they follow the Benedictine Hours, which guests are invited to attend.
I’m glad everyone made it out safely and I hope all their neighbors did, too.
These photos are courtesy of Randy OHC. I have many of my own, but I'm utterly exhausted as I write this post. I have just come from the 80th birthday party at Loyola Marymount of Fr. Don Merrifield,S.J., whom I've known for many years. That party was very joyous, I might add.