California Retreat House Destroyed in Fire

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SANTA BARBARA, California, NOV. 17, 2008 ( Wildfires that began last week in California took out a historic Benedictine retreat center, including 17th-century pieces of art.

Fires began raging in California last Thursday. The Montecito fire had the Mount Calvary Retreat House in Santa Barbara County in its path. The six men religious who lived in the center and other staff were evacuated on time and there were no injuries reported.

Many of the furnishings inside the 20,000-square-foot retreat house were priceless, according to Nancy Bullock, program director for Mount Calvary: “[Damages are] in the millions of dollars. I just don’t know what to say. There was the beautiful gold altar, from 17th century South America, and the 1652 painting of Jesus healing the paralytic, as well as the painting of our founder, as well as the brothers’ personal belongings.”

The Order of the Holy Cross, based in New York, founded Mount Calvary Monastery and Retreat House in 1947.

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