There is a hidden gem in Washington, D.C., that many do not know about. It is the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. This monastery was first constructed in 1898 through the divine guidance of a Franciscan Friar named Father Godfrey Schilling. This beautiful place in Washington offers the visitor inspiration with art, architecture, and nature’s glory.
In one place, you can visit many recreations of holy sites from around the globe–Italy, France, and many revered places in the Holy Land. This order of the Franciscans have been protectors of the holy sites since 1219 in Jerusalem, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Cyprus. Recreations of many Holy Sites include: the Tomb of Christ, Saint Francis’ Chapel in Assisi, Grotto of Lourdes, the Catacombs of Rome, Tomb of Mary, Grotto of Gethsemane, and Chapel of the Ascension.
One of my favorite places to say the rosary is around the Rosary Portico which has 15 beautiful mosaics of the Mysteries of the Rosary, and it has the “Hail Mary” in about every language from around the globe including many Native American languages. True to Saint Francis’ love of nature, the grounds are filled with beautiful flowers, trees, and plants that are maintained by many volunteers. One can find solace and peace in the gardens all through the year.
The Memorial Church is a wonderful piece of architecture and filled with incredible stained glass and paintings. I highly recommend anyone visiting DC to visit. Do you have any favorite places for retreats? You can find out more about the Franciscan Monastary at their newly redesigned website–take the virtual tour: