There is a sacred place, on an island, amongst an archipelago of 700 islands, where at 206 feet you stand at the nation’s highest point – known as Mount Alvernia. Here, with the sun as your compass, you look North – South – East and West. Your eyes meet more than panoramic ocean views, they marvel at The Hermitage, a stone medieval-style monastery built by Father Jerome; the architect priest who named Mount Alvernia after the hill in Tuscany where St. Francis of Assisi received the wounds of the cross. You’re breathless, not because of your trek over the rough terrain which led you to the top, but taken back by the knowledge that in the last 17 years of his life – at the age of 63 – Father Jerome, also known as Monsignor John C. Hawes, began building the monastery by hand with rock quarried on site. His hermitage – diminutive in size – embodied his desire to be lowly, humble and poor. Located on Cat Island, in the central Bahamas – in a world away from the world – it is no coincidence that here you too must bend low to enter his home and that here you too can find your center – just as the Father had intended.
P.S. Experience Tip – After parking at the base of the hill there are two paths that can be followed. The steeper one is marked by the hand-carved Stations of the Cross which will lead you along a path which seems more like a climb, bringing you up to the front of The Hermitage – it lends for a very dramatic introduction. The next is a longer walk but far gentler incline which will take you to the back of The Hermitage.
P.P.S. Take advantage of Two Fly Free From Nassau offer available here.
P.P.P.S. Father Jerome built three additional churches on Cat Island, for names and locations visit here.