Louise Speaks: After leaving Tucson we decided to see some places on our list of things to see. St David, Arizona is a very small, rural town, and is home to the Holy Trinity Monastery. Our main purpose for stopping was to see the huge Celtic Cross. But once inside, there is so much more to see. The cross is 70 feet high and can be seen from Hwy 80. The cross appears to be guarded by two lions perched on a pedestal. At the base of the cross is a sign designating it as the “Shrine of the true cross”.
Just past the Celtic Cross is the Meditation Garden. There is a walking trail around a pond that has large colored fish swimming along the edge. With the beauty of the large, tree lined pond, visitors attain a peace and solitude that is difficult to find in a busy world. The Oriental garden has an oriental bridge and lovely flowers to lend its feeling of serenity. We found a large Peacock sitting up in the tree, and no matter what we did we could not get the peacock to come out of the tree.
The Lady of Guadalupe Chapel is the most prominent building on the property. Mass just happened to be ending as we approached the chapel. The inside is simple but beautiful. There is even an organist and the stations of the cross were very nicely done. The enclosed court yard around the church is a gardener’s delight with the rose garden, flowers and plants of many varieties. The lovely fountain, surrounded by benches, gives the visitor an opportunity to just sit and soak in the peace. Another rose garden is down in the plaza near the gazeboes and library.
In 1992, the Bureau of Land Management helped dedicate a 1.3 mile Bird Sanctuary trail that borders along the property and is on the other side of the Chapel. In 1993 the monastery received the “Conservation Co-operator of the Year” award presented by San Pedro National Resource Conservation District. There are other critters roaming around the property and there were some very large trees. While we were walking the trail, there were artists sitting around the lake painting. The entire area is very serine.
On the 132 acres, there is not only the Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, living quarters, offices, library, museum, dining hall, Father Louis Hall, and conservatory, but guest houses for the retreats. The grounds are simply beautiful. The church seems to have an active following, although many leaving the church today were saying goodbye as they were heading home after spending the winder in St. David.
In 2017 the Monastery had been ordered to close it’s doors after more than 40 years of serving their community. However, from what I’m seeing today, the church at least, seems to have a loyal following. They are still offering retreats and the gift shop and thrift shop are open daily for business. We found a few things to buy as well, including baked goods. The grounds are full of pecan trees, and the pecan provide a means of income.
It would absolutely be a shame if the doors were to close permanently at the Holy Trinity Monastery. There are so many possibilities here and you can feel how special this place is the moment you get out of your car. We stopped here for the cross, but left seeing so much more. The Holy Trinity Monastery gets an A rating. I love visiting churches, especially when the grounds surrounding the church are so beautiful and serenity just fills your heart.