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MOUNT CALVARY MONASTERY
The purchase of the property for the Saint Mary’s Retreat in 1952 was made possible in part by the involvement of the Fr. Karl Tiedemann, the monk in charge of the Brothers of the Order of the Holy Cross who ran the nearby Mount Calvary Monastery, which at the time was located in the foothills above Santa Barbara. In 2008, the Tea Fire sadly destroyed the old Mount Calvary property, and the brothers were offered refuge by the sisters at Saint Mary’s Retreat. Eventually in 2013, the property was deeded from the sisters to the Brothers of the Order of the Holy Cross, which then began operations here as the revived Mount Calvary Monastery.
The brothers have continued use of the property in a similar way to the sisters - as a religious retreat for overnight guests for limited-time stays, and for occasional group retreats. The brothers live full-time in the original “Mission Hill” residence, which as a monastery also hosts fellowship, meetings and group dining in its many common rooms. The Dial House serves as the retreat housing for guests, along with an annex building attached later, and the original 1870’s 2-bedroom cottage built by Dr. Knox. The chapel remains in service for overnight guests and outside visitors.
One precious item which survived the Tea Fire at the old Mount Calvary property, is a beautiful decorative cross constructed in 1949. This cross was able to be restored and received permission to be re-installed at this property just a few years ago. The cross serves as a symbol of the enduring legacy of service to others, embodied over many eras by the heroic stewards of this special and unique historic place.
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