In 2006, the Norbertine Fathers visited the Holtz Ranch in Silverado Canyon, exploring the site as a campus for their priests and seminarians.
The fathers didn’t have the money to buy the ranch at the time. But they hid a small statue of St. Joseph in a far corner, hoping for some blessings from above.
“He always buys things for you,” Father Justin Ramos said of St. Joseph. “He’s been very good at providing.”
After more than a decade and more than $120 million raised, another small St. Joseph statue now watches from a tall perch over the bustle of construction on the new St. Michael’s Abbey campus. Construction on the 55-acre site – which recently welcomed four French-made bells to its 108-foot tower – is set to be done by October, with dedication planned for January 2021.
With the new campus, Ramos, who heads the fundraising effort, said the St. Michael’s community will finally be able to grow beyond its cramped home in Trabuco Canyon, where many priests and seminarians have been living in portable buildings. The new campus in this remote part of Orange County will allow its people and visitors to better experience “the monastic way of life,” he said….
The campus will include a monastery for 100 priests and seminarians, a church, an administrative building, a guesthouse and a burial chapel with a 200-space cemetery….
The Norbertine Fathers’ current Trabuco Canyon campus doesn’t have space to welcome many visitors, Ramos said. But the new location will have guestrooms for about a dozen people. And a large meeting room, which can fit 400 people and can be divided into several spaces, will serve as area for Catholic organizations to pray….
When the new campus opens, the old home in Trabuco Canyon will be sold; the boarding school will be closing at the end of this school year, Ramos said. It’s uncertain whether the fathers will build a new school at their new home in Silverado Canyon, he said.
The above comes from a Dec. 16 story in the Orange County Register.