A very special group of monks

Seeing these photos of the modules successfully being shipped and set to the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, CA couldn’t make me more happy (and also extremely thankful). The monks at the Hermitage are honestly some of the most special people I have ever met and the site of their monastery is nothing short of being epic.  I can’t even say how fortunate I feel to be working with them. I have stayed at the Hermitage a number of times. In fact, they have retreat rooms available for rent – with private gardens and sweeping ocean views. I HIGHLY recommend a trip there and staying there.

Their current buildings have lived beyond their years. They were built inexpensively and without proper structure and insulation, so now they have mold and are no longer structurally sound. While they need so many of the buildings to be replaced (including their very unhealthy and unsafe cells), their budget has allowed for the first phase of the overall project to be built: the infirmary. The monks have made the life commitment to this place, and therefore require local healthcare as they age. They have been in great need for an infirmary.

Their site is in the southern portion of Big Sur in an area called Lucia. They are located up on the hill off of highway 1.  There were numerous delivery assessments completed by a number of different experts to evaluate if the modules could make it through Big Sur’s narrow winding highway and then also up the switchback steep road to the Hermitage. With each assessment it appeared doable, but just barely. And with prayers.

The day of the shipping required miraculous effort from an AMAZING group of people – contractors, truck drivers, set crew, the factory, and a special thanks to Bede Healey (the monk in charge of the project) and to Scott Landry and James Kean (the architects from our end).   It was truly a collaboration, and that is what made it happen successfully. And the prayers surely helped as well.

We designed the infirmary to be long-lasting with no maintenace. So we chose to use Cor-ten steel for the siding. In these photos, the Cor-ten hasn’t rusted yet which is why it just looks like shiny steel. However, with the amount of salt in the air, the beautiful velvet color and organic texture of the Cor-ten will surely be showing up very soon. Stay tuned in future photos.  In order to “talk to” the existing Chapel building (the heart of the Hermitage and a building that will be staying for many, many years to come), we used integral color cement board with an ochre color that relates to the color of the Chapel.

The infirmary is composed of 4 modules that are put together. And one of the many exciting parts of the modular construction is when you can walk inside the same day the modules arrive. This photo below was taken an hour after the one above. It is showing the infirmary kitchen with the windows on the countertop as a way to wash the countertop with light so one doesn’t have to turn on lights during the day.

I am so grateful and in awe of this incredible group of people that helped dream of,design, build, ship, set and complete this building. And it is a great birthday present to the birthday boy, Scott Landry. (happy birthday, Scott!)

To find out more  about the Hermitage click here.
For more information the Retreat rooms and staying at the Hermitage, click here.
They are also taking donations for reconstructing the rest of the Hermitage. To find out more about this, click here.

Stay tuned on the blog for updated photos as the infirmary is “buttoned up” and completed.

One Response to “A very special group of monks”

  1. Hank says:

    Michelle !
    wow very impressive in all areas ! I have been up to the Hermitage !! what a great experience. I dubbed it Monksville USA !!
    The best part of your website is the photo of you !
    Peace & Love always,

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