Meher Spiritual Center
|Motto||A place of pilgrimage for all time|
The Meher Spiritual Center is a 500-acre (200 ha) spiritual retreat nestled in a pine forest along the Atlantic Ocean between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and adjacent to Briarcliffe Acres. The Center was established by Elizabeth Chapin Patterson and Princess Norina Matchabelli in the early 1940s to provide a place for spiritual renewal to visitors and to provide information about Indian spiritual teacher Meher Baba. Its stated purpose is to exist as a retreat for “rest, meditation, and the renewal of the spiritual life.” The Meher Spiritual Center is also designated as a state wildlife sanctuary with more than 200 species of plants, 100 species of birds and 44 species of animals. The Center has two lakes, many nature trails, and a mile of unspoiled Atlantic shoreline.
The Center has a house built for Meher Baba which is named "Meher Abode" but usually referred to as "Baba's House." Meher Baba stayed there during his three visits to America in the 1950s. Meher Baba inaugurated the Meher Center in 1952 and also visited in 1956 and 1958.
Meher Baba requested that the land for his center in America meet certain criteria. They were: the place must have equitable climate, virgin soil, ample water, soil that could be made self-sustaining to a large number of people, and the property should be given from the heart. Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli originally sought land in other parts of the United States including California. But no land met all the requirements. Eventually Elizabeth Patterson's father, Simeon B. Chapin, who was one of the original developers of Myrtle Beach, gave her the land as a gift. He felt that it was not suitable for his resort plans since its lakes obstructed access to the beach.