Redwoods Monastery is a small community of Roman Catholic women monastics founded in 1962 from the Cistercian Monastery of Nazareth in Belgium. Nestled among the majestic redwoods and Douglas fir of the Lost Coast of Northern California, bordered on one side by the salmon bearing Mattole River, the sisters of Our Lady of the Redwoods live a simple monastic life in continuity with a tradition that stretches back to 1098, Europe.
The Cistercian Order was founded in France through the inspiration of Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen, monks who desired to live more fervently the Rule of Benedict. Known as "Lovers of the Place", five elements characterized the vision of the early Cistercians and continue to shape our spirituality today: creative fidelity, simplicity, an accent on experience, affect us (the centrality of love) and mysticism.
In the context of community, we seek God by our commitment to a daily monastic schedule first codified by Saint Benedict in the sixth century, adapted to our present cultural and environmental context.
Each day is marked by silence. The divine office, daily Eucharist and lectio divina (spiritual reading) are complemented by daily periods of common meditation and silent prayer. Manual work brings a necessary balance to the mindfulness of God that unites the whole day’s activities.
Living in a wilderness area of old growth redwood forests profoundly influences both the spiritual life of this monastery as well as the practical life of our community. We live in communion with nature, making the search for God real through the concrete experiences of everyday life, building a community of love that extends far beyond the confines of the monastery, striving to be open to inner and outer transformation; this is the fabric of our life at Redwoods.