Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aftermath of the fire: Remembering the monastery, the people

The winds are quieting in Southern California, but the devastation is huge. A friend told me the fire was so hot that it left a sheen of melted glass on some streets. Wildfires are a fact of life in Southern California, and other fires have claimed larger swaths of territory. Yet somehow this fire burned hotter and took places that none of us thought would burn, like our Order of the Holy Cross monastery in Santa Barbara. My friends at nearby Westmont College emailed late last night that they are safe, but that 16 faculty homes were destroyed and that will impact the school as a whole. Candace described the week as simply "horrendous."

Still, it was buildings destroyed, not lives taken. 
The brothers of the Holy Cross will try to rebuild their monastery. One said they had "enjoyed good years" and "good memories" and other good memories will come. Monks do have a way of reminding the rest of us to have perspective. The brothers have given so much to many of us, and now it is our turn to step up for them. Friends have already set up funds to help them. You can give through Facebook by going to the "Causes" page and searching for "Benedictine House." Or, if you have Facebook, just click: OHC Causes. You can also send a check directly to:  

Mount Calvary Retreat House
P.O Box 1296
Santa Barbara, California 93102

And please keep in your prayers the brothers, and all those whose lives are upended by the fires, and all those who are fighting the fires and responding to this emergency.

The photo is from the Santa Barbara News-Press and shows all that is left of the monastery.

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