We Are Open Now!
Good News For Those Considering a Retreat at the Hermitage!
Almost all of the damage from last year’s winter storms have been repaired, and access to the Hermitage is once again restored from the south via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. Access from the north (via Monterey and points beyond) is now easily available because the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, which was damaged during the storms, has been rebuilt and is open. When you make a reservation, driving directions will be sent by separate email if you are coming from the south, and are also available on the reservations page as well, via link.
Reservations can be booked online at https://contemplation.com/
And we’ve begun a renewed fundraiser for our entrance road repair!
Please go to https://www.gofundme.com/Newcamaldolirelief to read the Prior’s message on our appeal for help in getting our driveway/entrance road repaired.
Please feel free to share this news with your friends!
Blessings to you.
The Monks of New Camaldoli Hermitage
Thank you once again for the marvelous outpouring of support, financial and otherwise, and concern over these last few months. I am not sure what we would have done without them, and we are all extremely grateful.
To recap: after the torrential rains of this past winter, Highway 1, pretty much the only access to the Big Sur for nearly 80 miles except for a narrow windy road over the mountains just south of us, suffered numerous landslides, mudslides and rock slides, too many to be counted. The worst ones were just to the north and south of our own property here on what is known as the south coast. At several points we were cut off completely for a few days at a time, with no phones, only internet and walkie-talkie, and were on alert for helicopter emergencies.
When things finally calmed down the bridge over Pfeiffer Canyon, 25 miles north of us, had developed severe cracks and had to be demolished, cutting off access to and from the north; a huge landslide happened one evening 14 miles south of us at Mud Creek, dumping 5 million cubic yards of rock and dirt down and into the ocean, actually creating a new landmass on the coast (the surfers were thrilled about this!); and just south of us the outer lane of the highway washed into the ocean at a very tender spot called Paul’s Slide, a 4 square mile active slide, part of which is actually on our own property. Consequently a good section of our own two-mile entry road was also badly damaged. At one point, as someone described it, it was like driving up a one lane stairway. It was never completely impassable for the brave of heart, which includes the heroic food and fuel delivery trucks, but it was dangerous. Due to the work on the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge north of us, we have only had access and egress via Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. For any trips to town we have either had to cross over the mountains via Nacimiento-Fergusson or drive 25 miles north, leave a car parked on the highway, walk a trail to the north side of the canyon, and retrieve one of the cars that we have left in a temporary parking lot at Big Sur Ranger Station. It has been like an elaborate game of chess, trying to figure out the logistics of practical matters. In the midst of that we have endured several health crises and two deaths.
Throughout, the brothers have been tremendous and our staff has been loyal and resilient. It has allowed us to simplify, shift priorities, and really coalesce as a community. There has been a real spirit of joy and cooperation pervading New Camaldoli throughout the spring and early summer.
Finally I have some progress to report: Highway 1 is now open 24/7 at Paul’s Slide (albeit one lane with traffic light control); our maintenance crew has done a tremendous job of leveling off our own entrance road (paving will commence in October); and we opened for retreatants and visitors the weekend of July 21, for the first time since January. The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge to our north, which has blocked travelers coming from Monterey and points north since the storms, is scheduled to be re-opened on October 13th! Not only are we relieved to have a little income again, we are thrilled finally to be able to welcome guests. While we live a quiet eremitical life, hospitality is an essential element of all of our Camaldolese communities, and we have missed the gentle interaction we have with our friends and other pilgrims.
So, once again, thank you for all your support, and come and see us some time. Never have any of us appreciated so much nor been so respectful of the wild untamed beauty of the Big Sur that offers us hospitality to live out our contemplative life. With every good wish and our humble, grateful prayers, we bless you in the name of Jesus,
Cyprian, OSB Cam. and the Monks of New Camaldoli
Welcome to New Camaldoli Hermitage!
The life of a Camaldolese monk centers on the seeking union with God following the dictates of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in union with the Catholic Church, through the ancient but ever new monastic heritage of Saint Benedict as enriched by Saint Romuald. This life radiates outward in various rhythms, involving him in solitude and community, silence and fraternal encounter, prayer and work, study and recreation. He is dedicated to the love and praise of God in the bond of fraternal charity.
Watch the video above to experience the majestic beauty of the Hermitage and the Big Sur coast for yourself.
The community in Big Sur is situated in the rugged coastal mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Located on 899 acres at an elevation of 1300 feet, the Hermitage is surrounded by California chaparral, redwood, madrone, bay laurel, and an oak forest. The view is of both ocean and woods – a natural setting profoundly conducive to the contemplative way of life.
What’s Happening At the Hermitage!
“Out of the Cell” by Pico Iyer Featured in Granta
There’s a nice story by friend of the Hermitage Pico Iyer called “Out of the Cell” that was published in the recent Granta. From Nobel laureates to debut novelists, international translations to investigative journalism, each themed issue of Granta turns the attention of the world’s best writers on to one aspect of the way we live now. Granta does not have a political or literary manifesto, but it does have a belief in the power and urgency of the story and its supreme ability to describe, illuminate and make real.
The Hermitage Featured in the LA Times!
The Hermitage and our struggles with Mother Nature was recently featured in the LA Times. A nice story and write up by Elijah Hurwitz and some lovely photographs accompanying the story. Check it out here!
New Camaldoli Hermitage Featured on PBS!
A featured story about the New Camaldoli Hermitage will air soon on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly on PBS. Each public television station that carries the program decides when to broadcast it so check local listings. The program will also be available online beginning January 27th. Here’s a preview!
New Camaldoli Hermitage Featured in Dallas Morning News!
We noticed a recent writeup that nicely featured the Hermitage in the Dallas Morning News. Titled “Be in your own ‘Mad Men’ finale at this silent retreat in Big Sur“, it provides a nice first person account of a recent visitor’s stay at the Hermitage. Thanks to Tina Danze for such a wonderful article about our home.
New Camaldoli Hermitage Featured in San Luis Obispo Tribune
We’re pleased to share this very nice recent write up about the Hermitage, featured in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
New Camaldoli Hermitage special write-up featured in Coast Magazine
Written by well-known author Pico Iyer, this article describes in pictures and words the spiritual and natural beauty of our place in the Big Sur wilderness.
New Camaldoli Hermitage is featured in the newest edition of the popular Moon travel guide (Monterey & Carmel edition)
You’ll find our hermitage and bookstore mentioned on pages 191, 208 and 209. The guide is a great resource for other destinations, sights and food in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties as well.
A description of the guide can be found here!
You may purchase a copy from us at our online store under “Books & Journals”.
New Camaldoli Hermitage Gets Better and Holier
The Hermitage was recently featured in ‘Monterey County Now’ online magazine. Read all about it!
Here’s a wonderful excerpt from the article:
When famed travel writer and longtime Time Magazine essayist Pico Iyer was given the chance to travel anywhere in the world for National Geographic Magazine, he chose Big Sur and the New Camaldoli Hermitage. “I have been traveling all over the world for 40 years now, from Tibet to Ethiopia and my home in Kyoto, to Easter Island and North Korea and Bolivia,” Iyer writes by email from the less exotic locale of Glendale. “But I can honestly say that I’ve never found anywhere that changes me to the core as the New Camaldoli Hermitage does.”