Speaking of “brick by brick”…

… there is also "stone by stone", though in a more literal and less metaphorical sense.

Not everything in the National Catholic Reporter is worthy of vituperation.

I just found an article on attempt to reconstruct a 12th-century chapter house on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, in Vina, California using centuries-old stones from a Cistercian monastery in Spain.

It is very interesting!   At last…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jim says:

    A good friend of mine is the contractor in charge of the job. Small world, Father Z. My friend owns a helicopter and has offered to take me over there some day.

  2. Bridget says:

    Lovely! I’d like to think that the fair sum of money I’ve spent on their wine has gone to support this project.

  3. A Random Friar says:

    They’ve also restarted some of the old Leland Stanford winery again, selling some small batches of wine. Don’t know how good it is, though. It’s a worthwhile foundation to support.

  4. In one way, it reminds me of the Cloisters in NYC.

  5. Andreas says:

    They seem to think that this would be the first such structure in America. Is it because they’ve never heard of the Spanish Monastery in Miami, originally built in the 12th century and transported stone by stone and re-assembled in the new world in the fifties?


  6. Man, the comments after the article on the NCR website are sad. Apparently nobody is allowed to spend money solely for the glory of God. It has to only go to helping the poor. Didn’t Judas make that same claim?

  7. EDG says:

    Fascinating post! I went to Vina many years ago (1970s) for the baptism of the child of friends. The monastery at one point had a walnut orchard, and even had a special walnut, the “Carmelita,” named for either the donor of the land or the developer of the walnut – I don’t recall which – whose daughter was a Carmelite nun (Carmelita, in Spanish). The walnut was huge and the shell was thin so it couldn’t be sold commercially, but people went to the monastery to buy it and the monks did some small-scale shipping.

    Getting back to the baby, he was baptized in a drainage ditch in the orchard area by a priest from SF who had decided to become a monk. This was during a time when nobody did any sacraments in a church if there was any way of avoiding it. I can’t remember the priest’s name; he was well-known in SF and it caused quite a stir when he retired to the monastery. I met him only once but he struck me as a modest and sincere man, which I assume was probably why he fled SF and went to the monastery. Unfortunately, at that time, they had just gone to the luxury cell model, where the monks were suddenly living in what looked like tiny individual townhouses, and many of them seemed to be devoting themselves to writing, etc., rather than prayer.

    That they are going back to their roots is wonderful. There are Spanish religious buildings scattered all over the US, brought in mostly by the wealthy in the early part of the 20th century, and most of them were meant to be adornments for their homes or, in some cases, were to be incorporated into museums or public art. But God does indeed work in mysterious ways, and while this may have been far from the mind of Hearst when he imported the building to begin with, who is to say that this was not its true purpose? We are probably all surprised by the true purpose behind our actions.

  8. trespinos says:

    Saw the chapter house in an early stage of construction in Sept. 2005, when I was on a retreat at Vina. It will be striking, no question. The community there needs prayers and support. I was told that the main infusion of vocations is from Vietnam. I first heard of Vina way back in the ’70s when a monk from New Claivaux was one of the two Catholics featured on the “Religion in America” TV series.

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