Friday, November 14, 2008

News from where I used to be - fire destroys Mt. Calvary Retreat House (OHC) in Santa Barbara

Friends in CA emailed the news. The monks had evacuated and saved many precious items, but Mt. Calvary Retreat House is burned to the ground.

That beautiful, quiet place on a mountain top overlooking Santa Barbara helped shape my Christian life. The community there really taught me to value and keep at the Daily Offices of the Prayer Book. It was at Mt. Calvary that I first encountered and read The Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross' classic that has engaged and challenged me ever since.

I attended and led numerous parish retreats up there.

I will never forget one night when the Franciscan Friars of historic Mission Santa Barbara invited the Holy Cross Brothers to a celebration down the hill, and I was one of a few guests to have the whole, silent retreat house to ourselves as the mission bells tolled and the sun set into the Pacific.

As John of the Cross would remind me, all things (even very good spiritual things) are nada - nothing - they must be released because they eventually hinder the soul's progress toward God.

1 comment:

Alice C. Linsley said...

I'm sorry about this loss. It appeared to have been a lovely place.

Everything is passing away, but God's plan is firm and from of old. When HE flung the universe into being, He already knew each moment, each loss, but our God restores and renews.