As one drives (or rides the Trolley) through Mission Valley, one tends to notice the magnificent homes perched high up on the ridges, like these:
One of the homes looks to be even more magnificent than the others:
That is the home of the Carmelite Monastery of San Diego.
According to their web site, the Carmelite Monastery is “daughters of St. Teresa of Avila who profess an allegiance to Jesus Christ by living a consecrated life of silent, solitary prayer in a small community of sisters….”
The Carmelite Monastery of San Diego is of The Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and is rooted in contemplative tradition. The nuns of the Carmelite Monastery are more properly known as Discalced Carmelites, meaning that they adhere to the Carmelite reformation begun ca. 1550 by St. Teresa of Avila.
The Carmelite tradition itself was founded in 1204 by a group of hermits who came together under the rule given them by St. Albert of Jerusalem. Eventually, due to “strife and unrest” in the Middle East (sound familiar?), the hermits moved to Europe. The women’s branch of the Order began in 1452.
Four American women returning home from the Carmel of Hoogstraten founded first community of religious women in the thirteen original States. After establishing a Carmel at Port Tobacco in Maryland in 1790, the moved to Baltimore in 1830. A Carmel was founded in Boston in 1890, which founded the Carmel of Santa Clara (California) in 1906. From Santa Clara came the foundresses of the San Diego Carmel in 1926, headed by Mother Emmanuel of the Passion as the first Prioress.
The cornerstone of the church reads January 4, 1932 (in Roman numerals). It also has this inscription:
PATRIS ET FILII ET SPIRITUS SANCTI
DEO GRATIAS IN AETERNUM
According to Google Translate, that is Latin, meaning “In newspapers, Father and Son and the Holy Spirit thank God for ever.”
The Carmelite Monastery of San Diego is located at 5158 Hawley Boulevard. It’s not easy to get to but is worth visiting if you have the time.
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Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America