This week's arts and culture piece is a little report on a 3-day retreat from the world I took recently.
Here's how the piece begins:
The Center for Spiritual Renewal, located on the grounds of the nonprofit retreat center La Casa de Maria in Montecito near Santa Barbara, is a house designated for personal retreats.
A ministry of the Immaculate Heart Community, the center is located on El Bosque Road — “el bosque” means “woodlands” — and the 26-acre grounds are studded with towering live oaks and other gorgeous old-growth trees. Footpaths meander through citrus orchards, an organic garden and onto a hiking trail that goes miles into the Los Padres National Forest.
Everywhere is a tucked-away bench, overhung with hydrangeas or bougainvillea or toyon, on which to ponder. My first night, I sat overlooking San Ysidro Creek and watched the sycamore trunks turn molten gold in the setting sun.
The house, the former novitiate for the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is baronial: nine “distinctive fireplace mantels” imported from Italy, huge bathrooms with majestic sinks, teak-paneled ceilings, wrought-iron staircases, a library. Outside one spacious terrace faces south, another east.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.
|THE MAGIC HOUR AT MONTECITO'S CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL RENEWAL|