Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sad news from Santa Barbara

We received some very sad news last night: the wildfires sweeping through the arroyos of Santa Barbara claimed the Mt. Calvary Retreat Center; the monastery burned to the ground. Mt. Calvary is the West Coast home of the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross, which until recently also had a priory next-door to All Souls Parish. The retreat center has long been a popular refuge and place of prayer for Episcopalians in California (for you Virginians, think of this as Shrine Mont). The photos are from the OHC website in earlier days; the other photo is from the Los Angeles Times yesterday.

One of the OHC brothers, Raphael, was my father's caregiver in his last years with Alzheimer's. The reports I got last night were that all of the brothers are safe, some of the artwork at the monastery was saved, but the buildings (recently renovated) are a total loss. Also hit by the fire is nearby Westmont College, a Christian liberal arts college where several buildings burned. We have friends who teach at Westmont and who evacuated their home.

Please keep in your prayers Br. Roberts, Superior, and Br. Tom, former chaplain to clergy of the Diocese of California; Br. Raphael; the Sisters of the Holy Nativity, particulary Sr. Abigail, SHN; for the students, faculty, and staff of Westmont College, especially Candace and Tim Taylor; and for the people of Santa Barbara.

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