New Camaldoli Hermitage

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New Camaldoli Hermitage
Monastery information
Full nameImmaculate Heart Hermitage
OrderCamaldolese Benedictines
Mother houseSacro Eremo of Camaldoli, Poppi, Arezzo, Italy
Dedicated toImmaculate Heart of Mary
PriorThe Very Rev. Father Cyprian Consiglio, O.S.B. Cam.
LocationBig Sur, California,
United States
Coordinates36°01′15″N 121°33′02″W / 36.02083°N 121.55056°W / 36.02083; -121.55056Coordinates: 36°01′15″N 121°33′02″W / 36.02083°N 121.55056°W / 36.02083; -121.55056

New Camaldoli Hermitage (formally called Immaculate Heart Hermitage) is a rural Camaldolese Benedictine hermitage in the Santa Lucia Mountains of Big Sur, California, in the United States. The Camaldolese branch of the Benedictine family was founded by St. Romuald in the late 10th century.[1]

Panomara from the New Camaldoli Hermitage.

The hermitage was founded in 1958 by two monks from the motherhouse in Camaldoli in northern Italy, who had spent two years searching for a site that combined solitude and natural beauty. It is located at an altitude of approximately 1,300 feet (400 meters), and is approached by a winding two-mile road, which gives the visitor a clear view of the landscape.

Daily Life[edit]

Approximately twenty monks live and work at the hermitage. Each monk lives in a small cottage, called a "cell," which is divided from its neighbors by a high wall, and includes a small garden. Weekday prayers begin with vigils at 5:30 a.m. and conclude with vespers at 6:00 p.m. Labors include a guest ministry, retreats, a bakery, a book store, cooking and writing.

In July 2013, Father Cyprian Consiglio, O.S.B. Cam., was elected as the new prior of the hermitage.[2]


The hermitage makes and ships its own fruitcake and date-nut cake based on a recipe developed by the monks. The proceeds help to support the hermitage. They also have begun to produce a granola product called "Holy Granola".


Retreatants are welcome and over 150,000 people have made retreats at the hermitage. Rooms for men and women are available as well as separate hermitages for longer retreats. Normally all retreats are silent and non-directed.


The hermitage is located in the Santa Lucia Range, along the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), three-quarters of a mile south of the Lucia Lodge. It is situated between San Luis Obispo (85 miles to the south) and Monterey (55 miles to the north). The entrance to the property is marked by a sign with a large, wooden Benedictine cross.


Sundays & Feast Days[edit]

  • 5:30 a.m.-Vigils;
  • 7:00 a.m.-Lauds;
  • 11:00 a.m.-Eucharist;
  • 5:00 p.m.-Vespers.


Monday through Thursday[edit]

  • 5:30 a.m.-Vigils;
  • 7:00 a.m.-Lauds;
  • 12:10 a.m.-Midday Prayer;
  • 5:00 p.m.-Vespers with Mass.


  • 5:30 a.m.-Vigils;
  • 7:00 a.m.-Lauds;
  • 11:30 a.m.-Eucharist;
  • 6:00 p.m.-Vespers.


  • 6:30 a.m.-Lauds with Mass;
  • 12:10 a.m.-Midday Office of Readings;
  • 6:00 p.m.-Vespers.

St. Romuald’s Brief Rule[edit]

Sit in your cell as in paradise.

Put the whole world behind you and forget it.

Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish.

The path you must follow is in the Psalms—never leave it. If you have just come to the monastery, and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want, take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind.

And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up; hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.

Realize above all that you are in God’s presence, and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor.

Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God, like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.

- From The Mystery of Romuald and The Five Brothers by Thomas Matus, O.S.B. Cam., A publication of Source Books and Hermitage Books, 1994


  1. ^ "New Camaldoli Hermitage- Who We Are". New Camaldoli Hermitage.
  2. ^ "What's New: New Prior for Big Sur". Order of St. Benedict. July 2013.