The Latest Update From Prior Cyprian

Ascension Thursday, May 25, 2017

I sure wish I had better news about our road situation!

As many of you have no doubt heard, the slide to the south of us (Mud Creek) lost a million cubic yards of earth the other day, so much so that it reconfigured the coastline. There has been a lot of press about this. So access from the south is cut off probably for at least the rest of the year.

Our slide (Paul’s Slide) is also moving again (“breathing” and “raining rocks” as they say). These days we are fogged in too, the “June gloom” having come early to the coast, so Caltrans have stopped working because no one can “spot” for falling debris. We think now that there is little chance that we will open before July (if then). We have two windows a day when we can come and go if we need to, but even that is being assessed on an hourly basis, watching for falling debris.

They are certainly working hard on the bridge up at Pfeiffer Canyon, so it could be that access from the north will happen before access from the south at this point. Our own entry road is also looking more and more fragile, though our maintenance team has been doing a noble job of keeping it passable and safe. We have a plan in place to remedy that, but getting work crews in and out to help us with that is obviously hindered by the same lack of access.

Every plan we make these days is totally provisional, except our prayer and fraternal care, and maybe that’s as it should be. Thank you as always for your support, financial and otherwise. I am happy to report that we are all still well, and making the best out of our forced isolation, though several monks have mentioned how much they miss the presence of our guests and friends. We carry you and your prayers with our own.

Latest: we just got this news this afternoon:


Here’s the CBS story that was on national news this morning. Some nice drone shots of the hermitage: <>

The Hermitage Urgently Needs Your Help!

The Latest Update From Prior Cyprian:
Date: April 24, 2017

Dear friends,

I am so sorry to have to write this to you. We met with our advisors as well as the geologists last week. Because of the continuing deterioration of our entry road, and due to the fact that Highway 1 remains closed to all but local traffic until at least June 1st, the Hermitage will have to remain closed to all guests and retreatants until at least then. We are very disappointed about this but it simply must be this way for now. Unfortunately, we also have not been given a reliable timetable for a remedy to this situation. We tried to do a limited opening for May, but were told last week to cancel that.  [note from editor: we are trying to get our entry road repaired but it is closely tied to the repairs/opening of Highway 1 below us, which is being delayed by continuing movement of the slide area).

We are all well, thanks be to God, and the brothers and staff are coping with their usual grace and joy. But please do keep all of us, as well as our neighbors, in your prayers.  We are ever so grateful for your ongoing support and friendship.

Fr. Cyprian, Prior

[please note: if you would like to be placed on a wait list for summer reservations, please contact Katee at  If we are able to accept guests this summer you will be contacted]

A message from Prior Cyprian Consiglio:
I have often used the word ecosystem to describe New Camaldoli, which applies to both our community and our geography. As many of you will have no doubt heard by now, the central coast got walloped by an ‘atmospheric river’ of rain these past months, continuing into the present moment, which destroyed dozens of sections of Highway 1 and badly damaged our own entrance road.

This storm is historic in terms of the damage it has caused and a true catastrophe for the people and businesses of Big Sur. The roads to our north and south could be shut down for months while they are rebuilt. Every business in the affected Big Sur coast will be closed or greatly cut back for the foreseeable future. Our property is right in the middle of the most fragile part of the highway and so we are totally cut off at several points from all comings and goings.

Ours was one of the first areas to be severely impacted by the storms. This is part of living in a beautiful and wild place like Big Sur, and what being “a place apart” entails. This ruggedness is also part of the special beauty that people love about the Hermitage, and why guests and retreatants are so grateful to be here.

The community here at the Hermitage, monks and staff, is “holding this space,” as we say around here—and in this case, holding it through the storms and rock slides––for the sake of everyone in our larger circle of friends, oblates, and fellow monastics near and far. It has also been an opportunity to reconnect with our neighbors and bond with new ones, especially those who were and continue to be stranded along with us. Unfortunately, though, hospitality is our primary source of income, and we have not been able to receive guests for nearly two months, which is a huge financial blow to the Hermitage. We have now had to cancel all reservations for the month of March, and that may continue into April and May, depending on how fast repairs are done. So, like many others here on the coast, we’re in a position where we could use some support in getting through this season of storms.

We’ve set up a GoFundMe page to help collect support and donations for the Hermitage. Please help us through this difficult and challenging time if you can.

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!

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.

Read all about it!

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.

Read all about it!

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.”

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