Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit La Casa de Maria in beautiful Montecito in the Santa Barbara area once more. Montecito is a lush area nestled in woods very close to the California Coast. As you can see in this picture views of the ocean are not uncommon and on a clear day I have been able when visiting La Casa de Maria to see the ocean myself. What this means is just driving into La Casa de Maria in and of itself is a gorgeous thing. Maybe that is why so many famous celebrities like Oprah and Ellen DeGeneris (who I happened to stand next to with her wife in a check out stand at a local health food store around the corner), have homes in this region.
The glamor and beauty aside, what makes La Casa de Maria such a special trip is not just the drive there, it is the place itself. Originally owned by a wealthy family the land and many of the buildings were given in 1950 to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart who used it for a time as a convent and also created a retreat center. No longer a convent and now only a retreat center it has become well known as a place where individuals and groups both gather for rest, renewal, and a chance to become more centered and at peace.
Not too long ago I stayed at the Center for Spiritual Renewal which is on the grounds. I spent a weekend in retreat there and it was a magical experience. At one time this was the main house for the wealthy family who once owned the area. The rooms were beautiful. The food that was made for me as a guest there was healthy with fresh food from the grounds and made with a great deal of love from the cook there who I chatted with more than once.
Other people had come there for retreat who I enjoyed talking with, though one woman was there on a silent retreat so she did not join us in meals taking hers to her room. While there I mostly put myself through a Visioning Retreat. I both enjoyed spending time in my room as well as moving about around the grounds at La Casa de Maria which are quite large. I went to the some of the gardens, the meditation room, the chapel, and even walked the labyrinth.
At night it was very quiet. Each guest at the Center for Spiritual Renewal is given a key so you are able to come and go from the main house as you please. In addition to the Center for Spiritual Renewal there are many other places to retreat including dorm style rooms and small homes you can rent on your own. I felt blessed to have the time I had at this tranquil place. Though the weather outside was perfect, I didn’t bring a swimsuit to enjoy the pool in part because I didn’t really expect to take time for swim. Instead, I mostly focused on the reason I had gone to the place to make use of the beauty and the quiet to sharpen up my vision of what was needed next in my life. Naturally I could have done another kind of retreat at this wonderful place including an Emotional Healing Retreat, a Self Care & Stress Relief Retreat, or a Spiritual Reconnection Retreat. La Casa de Maria would be ideal for all of those.
In fact, though La Casa de Maria has always been a favorite spot for those seeking a beautiful sanctuary, it is becoming even more popular now. With its interfaith focus groups and individuals are coming there more than ever before for their own individual retreats or to enjoy the many programs that La Casa de Maria hosts. As for Peaceful Self Retreats it is our hope that La Casa de Maria becomes one more place that we can direct our clients to who want to work with us in designing their own personalized private retreat. To learn more feel free to contact us. Have a blissful day all.
Peace – Love – Light,
Dr. Lisa Love