One of the places I’ve thought about visiting many times is the Monastery at Vina, Ca.
This is a community of Cistercian monks seeking God in a place they call New Clairvaux. Although I’ve heard of the monks at Vina, I’d never been to visit. So, where is Vina? It’s located between Red Bluff and Chico in northern Ca. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit. The monks live a life of prayer, labor and sustainable stewardship of the land. It’s obvious that a lot of care has gone into the immaculate orchards and accompanying vineyard.
I’m sure I saw some stately old walnut trees in the orchard. The vineyard is really quite a nice affair as well. Here’s a photo looking over the vineyard to the new church they are building on the other side of the vineyard. This is not exactly the best photo but that is a new church being built off in the distance, so this is how you would first see it as you drive in.
Here is a little better photo of the new church. If you look inside (360° view inside new church + more photos I’ve posted on this Google Maps site) you’ll see a spectacular architectural work. I’m not kidding! I read where it’s a 6 million dollar structure. The monks have a lot of friends and people who donate. Construction started in May of this year and it has the look of something you would find in ancient times in Greece or Rome or somewhere like that with all it’s pillars and columns. There is also a very interesting backstory about how some of the stones and pillars and pieces of columns came to be used in the new church. This is a very cool place! I’m not kidding… I recommend you visit that “Inside” link above. (But please DO return here… thank you)
Below is the New Clairvaux wine tasting room. And right behind from where I took the photo is a little museum. Sorry, no photos of the museum to post at this time. However, if you view the “Inside” link above you will see a photo of their little museum – as well as a few others I posted to Google.
Below is the old church as I viewed it last week. Obviously this is a place of quiet and meditation so I thought it best to remain quiet and just take it all in for a while before I left. I love the wood in here. I think this picture captures that pretty well.
I thought I was alone in the chapel. However, I later noticed one of the monks sitting in quiet meditation.
I later asked if it was alright for me to be in there with my camera. He simply said, “Yes.” Still, though… I didn’t want to be the ugly tourist so I quietly slipped out and strolled around some of the grounds. Much of the monastery is for monks only. There are signs posted. “Monastery members only.” Something like that.
You’ll fine places like this little archway you can walk up to but not under. Not unless you are invited, I guess. Anyway, quite an interesting place. I’m looking forward to a return visit soon. I’m also looking forward to learning more about the monastery. Hopefully this gives you a little idea about what’s there. Once the new church is complete it should be nothing less than spectacular. That’s my little travel log for now. Be sure to visit my site at WestSacPhotographer if you wish to see more photos, different galleries or find out a little more about me. Till later!