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March 19, 2011 / Linda Hartong


As I drive up and down Highway One to Point Lobos or Big Sur, I notice a beautiful church high on a hill overlooking the road. It sits above Monastery Beach.


The above shot was taken by Steve Brown. You can see more of his work at

Whizzing toward Carmel one day, I spot a well-worn road going up the hill toward the church and so I make a quick right and go ahead. The Church and its grounds seem deserted , yet I can tell it is occupied. I tour around and find a parking lot.

The photo above on the left was taken by another flickr photographer, Tony Barakat. View more of his photos at


Luckily I have my camera with me so I step out to get a few shots. Three hours later I am still wandering around the beautiful and peaceful spot.

It appears I am at the monastery of the cloistered  The Sisters By The Sea . They are Carmelite Nuns who live in solitude.

Cloistered means that they have not contact with the outside world. So the only parts open to the public are the outer grounds and the chapel ( when the sisters aren’t having Mass).  I find this out  later when I am researching .

But today I wander around the grounds.




In front of the church is a lovely little garden that allows a view of the ocean and Point Lobos.








Gravel paths weave in and out of shrubbery enclosed “rooms”.

I find a small well-tended shrine .


The paths lead around to still another garden area to the south of the Monastery.

This spot is so feminine compared to the Mission in Carmel.


I feel so lucky to be here when the roses are blooming.

This place is tended to by women and it shows.


I am posting more photos later. Meanwhile, if you want to read more about these amazing women go to their website  .


Listen to harp music performed by Catherine Anderson for the Carmelite Nuns (please allow a few minutes to download):

Flos Carmeli (1.35) *  Renie (1.30) *   Chords (2.01)



Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are copyright (c) Linda Hartong. All rights reserved.

You may not use any image on this site without my written consent. If you are interested in using a photo from my website for any purpose, please send me a quick message and let me know which photo(s) you are interested in.


Leave a Comment
  1. Kathysue / Mar 19 2011 2:12 am

    I am soooo enjoying all of your post about my favorite spot to visit. Carmel!!! We live about 2 hours away and come down as often as possible. Oh how I love your beautiful area and it is so fun to find spots we have not yet seen through your adventurous eyes. We have been going to Carmel for special occasions and just because I need to see the ocean from time to time since we were married in 1970 and Carmel is where we chose to honeymoon, so young and such sweet sweet memories. Thank you for sharing so many wondeful things about your beloved Carmel. Kathysue

  2. jeanette sclar / Mar 19 2011 9:58 pm

    OK, I now see my purpose in life: to be a cloistered Carmelite nun!

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