Stunning coasts, bustling cities, and technological innovation are just some of California’s bests. But when you look beyond these wonders, the Land of Milk and Honey is also known for its Spanish and Mexican Heritage. It is home to remarkable Catholic Churches, specifically Monasteries. In this blog post, we will deep dive into the Catholic Monasteries in California, discovering their spiritual beauty. From architecture and religious artworks to peaceful ambiance, these holy sites are must-visits!
Here are some of the beautiful Catholic Monasteries in California.
St. Michael’s Abbey
Let’s start our tour with St. Michael’s Abbey. This monastery is one of the most renowned monasteries in California. Located in Silverado in Orange County, this abbey is a Norbertine Catholic Monastery administered by the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré or also known as Premonstratensian Order. It was established in 1961. The Church’s architectural style is astonishing not to take photos! The mountain ridges, paintings, and statues surrounding the abbey are impressive. When you visit, attend the Mass and hear angelic chanting that is uplifting! Find peace and solitude with the monastery’s atmosphere taking you back to the Middle Ages, traditional and unique. The Abbey also offers retreats. A must-visit Catholic monastery in California!
Saint Andrew’s Abbey
Our next stop is St. Andrew’s Abbey. Established in 1955, St. Andrew’s Abbey is a Benedictine Monastery located in Valyerm, Mojave Desert in northern Los Angeles County, southern California. The abbey is under the care of the Congregation of the Annunciation. Since it is situated in a desert, an area conducive to silence, the abbey is well known as a retreat center. This is a go-to place for spiritual relaxation and growth. Attend their Mass and listen to their music consisting of hymns, songs, and Gregorian chants taking you to heaven! They also have a store, selling Ceramics (which the Abey is known for), books and music, food, and religious gifts. A spiritual oasis in the desert mountains!
Carmelite Monastery of Our Lady and Saint Therese
Located in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, Carmelite Monastery of Our Lady and Saint Therese is where the Carmelite Congregation, an order founded in the 12th century at Mt. Carmel in Israel, stays. The monastery was constructed and completed in 1931. Its location was chosen for a specific purpose, on the evening of the summer solstice the sun shines through the window, illuminating the Tabernacle. Aside from its unique structure, you will also appreciate its background view, the ocean! Additionally, there are garden grounds inside the area which makes the place perfect for walk and meditation. Calming and serene. If you visit Cali, try to pass by this Monastery and be in awe!
Monastery of the Angels
Founded in 1924, a living place for cloistered Nuns of the Dominican Order, Monastery of the Angels is located in the middle of Los Angeles California just below the Hollywood sign. This beautiful small mid-century monastery is a sanctuary for the people of Los Angeles. Aside from its gorgeous and quiet Chapel and grounds, the Monastery is also famous for its gift shop selling various items such as spiritual books, prayer cards, medallions, candies, peanut brittle, and the people’s favorite and must-try, pumpkin bread! When you buy, you are supporting the Congregation with its causes. Such a gem in a hustling and bustling city. A hidden sacred treasure in California!
The Abbey of Our Lady of New Clairvaux
Thinking of escaping from the havoc of life? You might want to consider visiting the Abbey of Our Lady of New Clairvaux. This is a rural Trappist monastery in Northern California in Vina. The Order was founded by Sts. Robert, Alberic, and Stephen Harding in 1098 AD. Established in 1955, the Church’s interior and exterior are just picturesque. Aside from that, you can also attend services and pray with monks during the Liturgy of Hours. Additionally, they have a winery where you can do the tasting. They have a great selection of award-winning wines both whites and reds which are affordable. Lastly, the Church is open for self-guided tours. A nice place to pray and drink!
New Camaldoli Hermitage
Formerly called Immaculate Heart Hermitage, New Camaldoli Hermitage is established in 1958. It is a rural Camaldolese Benedictine Hermitage in Sta. Lucia Range in Big Sur, California. It is under the Diocese of Monterey. Just like other monasteries, this hermitage is in a location enabling the visitors to feel at peace. Not only that it is silent but also lets you connect with God through His gift of nature. The Chapel is absolutely magical. The hermitage also offers retreats. The main retreat house has nine single private rooms with a personal garden overlooking the ocean. Furthermore, they have a bookstore and a gift shop selling different items. Truly, a holy site to visit!
Prince of Peace Abbey
Prince of Peace Abbey is a Benedictine Monastery in Oceanside California. The Abbey’s location allows a panoramic view of the ocean from the pews and choir stalls. Apart from its majestic Chapel, there are also prayer trails where you can meditate on the Way of the Cross. The abbey also prides on its Library consisting of almost 30,000 books arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System. They also have a gift shop with an impressive collection of books, artworks, and accessories. In addition, the ground serves as a center for retreats and other spiritual activities and events. Praying with monks is such a faith-renewing experience. Another pilgrimage destination to add to your bucket list.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Monks of Mount Tabor
Holy Transfiguration Monastery is an Eastern Catholic Monastery that is contemplative. They are part of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Although seems like a non-Catholic denomination, they are actually in full communion with the Holy See, considering Pope as Holy Ecumenical Hierarch. The monastery is located in Redwood Valley California. It sits in the mountains covered with nature. The structure is aesthetic making it an Instagram-worthy subject in all seasons. If you want to experience an all-new different rite, attend their liturgies and pray with them. The abbey also allows overnight stays with their guesthouses that can accommodate large groups. A great place for a retreat. Another California treasure!
Another and last monastery on our list is the Carmelite Monastery of San Diego. It was founded from Sta. Clara on June 11, 1926 and is currently located on Hawley Boulevard. It is home to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns living a contemplative life as daughters of St. Terese of Avila. The main Church features a white facade with charming bell tolls. It also has a minimalist interior. Outside, there are plenty of fragrant roses and other lovely flowers on the grounds. Additionally, since it is located atop the hill, you’d get to see the scenic view of the city. When you visit this monastery, don’t miss the nuns’ angelic singing in liturgies which is uplifting. One of the Catholic Churches in San Diego that is worth your visit.
There you have the Catholic Monasteries in California that you should consider visiting!
California is not just popular for its progressiveness but also for its laidback and tranquil spirituality.
If you are planning for a retreat away from the busy city, visit one of these Catholic Monasteries, encounter God, and renew your Faith.
Pray and travel!
For more Catholic Travel Destination, you might want to check this one out.