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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 7:43 am | Partly Cloudy 44º


Heavily Damaged La Casa de Maria Retreat Plans to Rebuild

Full extent of mudslide's effect on property as yet undetermined

The historic Center for Spiritual Renewal at La Casa de Maria is surrounded by mud and debris.
The historic Center for Spiritual Renewal at La Casa de Maria is surrounded by mud and debris. ( Anne Price)

All guests and staff at La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center were evacuated in advance of last week's mudslide in Montecito, and are accounted for and safe, La Casa de Maria reports.

La Casa de Maria said its staff has had extremely limited access to the property and are unable to give a full accounting of the scope of the damage.

Aerial footage, however, shows several structures on the 26-acre site, at 800 El Bosque Road, are severely damaged; some destroyed, others remain standing.

La Casa de Maria (LCDM) has cancelled most of its scheduled programs and courses for the foreseeable future. A limited number of programs have been relocated or rescheduled.
"We are grateful that so many have reached out to us to learn how La Casa was affected by this tragic event as well as to offer assistance," La Casa de Maria said. "Soon, we will have information about how we can put those offers into action.

"At this moment, we continue to be in prayer for those in our community who have lost loved ones, those who are still missing, and for the rescue personnel working around the clock to recover survivors and help those who are stranded to safety."

While some have reported that La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center “is gone,” that is incorrect, LCDM said.

"LCDM is far from gone and until we are able to get better access to the property, we won't be able to fully assess the extent of the damage. Only then will we be able to fully plan our path to recovery," La Casa de Maria said.

“Times of great loss can teach us how many people care, as well as how we can be a resource to the community,” said Steve Jacobsen, director of LCDM.

“Through all our years, we have been sustained and inspired by thousands of people who believe in what we do, and we are feeling that support now more than ever," he said. "We will rebuild, and we will be renewed.”

La Casa has endured numerous challenges over its 75-year history. Despite the destruction caused by the past week's event, the organization said it continues to hold the land as sacred and its mission unchanged.

“We believe the world will always need places of renewal like La Casa, and we are resolute in our determination to recover,” Jacobsen said.

For more information, contact Jacobsen at [email protected], or phone 729-6004.

— Steve Jacobsen for La Casa de Maria.


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