Friday, November 12, 2010

12th Century Abbey in America?

I have to hand it to William Randolph Hearst.
+  +  +
My pilgrimage to the monastery in North Miami
unearthed a surprising backstory.
+ 1133-1144 A. D. The Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels was built in Segovia, Spain.
 Upon the canonization of Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian monk,
 the monastery was renamed in his honor and
 Cistercian monks occupied the monastery for nearly 700 years.
+ 1835 A.D. Due to a social revolution in the area, the Cloisters were seized, sold,
and converted into a granary and stable.
A stable? Really?
(Originally, the cloisters had no flooring.)
+ 1925 A. D. Newspaper mogul and antiquities collector Hearst purchased the Cloisters.
 Dismantled stone by stone and bound with protective hay, the structures were packed in 11,000 crates, numbered for identification and shipped to the United States.
 About that time, hoof and mouth disease broke out in Segovia.
 The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture quarantined the shipment, broke open the crates and burned the hay, fearing it was a possible carrier of the disease.
Unfortunately, the workmen failed to replace the stones in the same numbered boxes
 before moving them to a warehouse.
 As soon as the shipment arrived, Hearst's financial problems forced
most of his collection to be sold at auction.
 The stones remained in a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York for 26 years.
+ 1953 A. D. One year after Hearst's death, Messrs. W. Edgemon and R. Moss
purchased the stones for use as a tourist attraction.
It took 19 months and $1.5 million dollars to put the monastery back together.
+ 1964 A.D. Bishop Henry Louttit purchased the property for the
Diocese of Central, Southeast and Southwest Florida.
 Shortly thereafter, the monastery was put up for sale.
 Col. Robert Pentland, Jr. a multimillionaire banker, philanthropist and benefactor of many Episcopal churches, purchased the Cloisters and presented them to the parish of
St. Bernard de Clairvaux in North Miami, Florida.
Today, the Cloisters are a popular setting for weddings, fashion photography, tourist sightseeing,
 and masses held in the chapel (once the monks' dining hall).
Here, kitty-kitty...
The cloisters make a comfortable home for six cats
who live on the grounds and in the gardens.
The cat lady comes to feed them every day.


Helen Young said...

What a great story! And those groin ceilings!

Anonymous said...

An inspiring story!
I love the fact that the cats have a welcome place too and someone who cares for them.

mise said...

That's quite a story, Becky, and what a triumph that it ever got rebuilt at all. I marvel at the human race's engineering ability - individually, everyone just wants to finish work and have a beer, but together they do so much.

RuneE said...

Very impressive; the history, the building, the photographies - everything!

S. Etole said...

Thanks for sharing this story ... and the thankfulness that this building wasn't destroyed as happens too frequently.

Dimple said...

Fascinating! Not only do people migrate and carry their ideas and methods, sometimes the buildings migrate, too!

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Uwwwww wonderful shots here Becky, and 26 years they didn't see daylight....I think the guy did a hell of a good job here....oeps sorry for that word...

Love the light and the colors of the stones...and the cat just blends in.
Hugs Dagmar

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...


...But you know what they say, six soon turns into twelve...then 24.

ELK said...

i relish all of the beauty in the arches...glad it still stands ..

Stacey Dawn said...

Can almost hear the echoing of footsteps down that hall...

RuneE said...

Me again - thank you for the comment! Not quite the Viking style, but there are obvious similarities.

S. Etole said...

Just dropping back to say I hope you had a most enjoyable birthday.

Pooch Purple Reign said...

holy WOW what gorgeous photos. and i love that story too. thank you
~laura x

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

Okay, I literally had my mouth hanging open while reading this, this is the stuff I die for. I did not know any of this, and you made my day - thank you thank you thank you.

lakeviewer said...

Interesting story! At least the Abbey was just one edifice, not a bunch of hodge podge art and architectural pieces like the stuff Hearst collected and assembled in San Simeon, Calif.

Susan Erickson said...

If those walls could talk.....great glad that if finally is in use again...those kitties needed a home!

simpledaisy said...

WOw...what a story and the photographs are beautiful too!

sealaura said...

hi there! what a pretty blog. The First picture reminded me of the HEarst CAstle and then when I saw you mention him, I was so excited. very cool.

Leslie said...

This is a fascinating story, and you've told it well here. Thanks for the lovely photos, too... I feel like I've visited the Cloisters myself!

(And thanks for your kind comments on my post about my daughter. She is a joy...)