01 July 2008

Mandatory Evacuation of Camaldolese Hermitage

A view of the altar at New Camaldoli

Please pray for the Camaldolese monks of Big Sur. Recent wildfires in California have caused a mandatory evacuation of the Hermitage there. A few monks are staying behind to "hold the fort" but the majority will be staying at the St Clare Retreat house in Soquel. Firefighters are arriving at the Hermitage to defend the property. No monks are in danger, and the word from the monks is, "So be of good cheer!" Updates will be given here as I receive them.

July 3, 2008:
Evacuations have now extended to Big Sur Village. Homes have been lost above Ventana, and generally the people of Big Sur at large can use our prayers. The fire now encompasses more than 53,000 acres and is only 3% contained. No news on the hermitage except that it is safe as of today (Thursday). God grant relief from the lack of humidity and other contributing factors. Sustain those who have lost all they owned. Protect the firefighters and allow them to control this fire quickly!

July 4, 2008:

Dom Robert Hale writes, [[ Our understanding is that the fire is distant from the Hermitage by some 22 miles to the north, on the coast side, and from some 10 miles from the northeast, on the other side of the mountain, "as the crow flies".]] Please keep the firefighters and those who have lost property in your prayers!!

July 4, 2008:

While details can change extremely quickly with regard to the fires, here is the latest which indicates the Hermitage may be out of danger. [[“The firefighters have had big success in the south. The spillover into the Big Creek watershed was stopped and the fire is now actually considered to be contained along the upper section of Dolan Ridge and along a section of the Coast Ridge heading south from there to about the middle of the Big Creek drainage. Assuming this containment holds, which Dietrich clearly thinks it will, Big Creek, Lucia and the Hermitage are all probably out of danger. What a change from the story we heard yesterday!”]]

July 13, 2008:

Word was the monks were going to return to New Camaldoli today, but it turns out that they will be returning tomorrow late afternoon or early evening. Apparently logistics on both ends (St Clare's and New Camaldoli) require the extra day. A couple of monks are returning later than that due to indivdual appointments, but all is well, and the bookstore, etc should be open by Wednesday. Folks should be able to check with the switchboard/answering machine tomorrow though. Guests will apparently be able to be received starting Friday.