On January 9 La Casa de Maria sustained damage as a result of the mud and debris flow following the Thomas Fire. While some of the property is untouched, several buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed. Our access to the property remains limited. Once we are able to access the property with professional consultants, we will be able to chart our path to recovery. You can follow our progress on our blog and on our Facebook page.
For now, your donation will be used to support the efforts of the staff in rebuilding and renewing La Casa de Maria.
Lovelace Lounge Dedication May 4, 2014
In May 2014, members of the Santa Barbara community gathered at La Casa de Maria for a special ceremony dedicating the retreat center’s newly renovated lounge to longtime supporters Jon and Lillian Lovelace. The Lovelace Lounge, which served as the original meeting room for La Casa dating back to 1955, is the first of five meeting rooms that are being remodeled as a result of La Casa’s successful $7.5 million Campaign To Preserve and Renew.
The renovation of the Lovelace Lounge includes soundproofing, design enhancements for greater accessibility, new doors and lighting, audio-visual upgrades and cabinets and the creation of a large hospitality corner where groups can prepare refreshments. “In spite of all these changes, it still feels like our Lounge, with the sandstone fireplace, high ceilings, and views of the outdoors,” said Stephanie Glatt, La Casa’s Director.
Lillian Lovelace unveiled the Spanish-inspired tile plaque that bears her and her late husband’s names, revealing the exquisitely hand-painted sign to a delighted group of supporters.
Friends and neighbors shared their stories about the retreat center and what it has meant to them, thanking Jon and Lillian for their dedication and support. Christine Garvey, Campaign Co-Chair, called La Casa “a spiritual anchor” in her life. Writer/producer Vicki Riskin praised Jon and Lillian for the leadership and support of countless cultural and educational institutions, including La Casa. Steve Jacobsen offered a special blessing to officially dedicate the new space.
“Montecito is grateful to have a place that brings together people of all cultures and religions,” said Mrs. Lovelace. “With so much strife in the world caused by perceived differences, it is important that there be places dedicated to bringing people together in a spiritual way.” La Casa is indeed blessed to have Lillian Lovelace!
Visit our home page for updates on the latest work in progress.
Shalom Garden Dedication June 30, 2013
On a warm Sunday in June 2013, family and friends came together to dedicate the Shalom Garden, the first of several new spiritual gardens to be installed at La Casa de Maria. Located near La Casa’s agricultural area, the garden was sponsored by local therapist Kathleen Barry in memory of her husband, Roy Mankovitz, an entrepreneur and inventor who passed away suddenly in July 2011.
The Shalom Garden features the seven plants mentioned in Deuteronomy (fig, date, olive, pomegranate, grape, wheat and barley). The entrance is flanked by two palm trees, and a gathering area is bordered by olive, pomegranate and fig trees. An arbor modeled on the Sukkah, the temporary shelter utilized in the Jewish festival of Sukkot, has been installed, and grapes and etrog are planted along the perimeter of the space. The “four species utilized in the Sukkot (citron, palm, myrtle and willow) are also featured.
La Casa was honored to have Roy and Kathleen as members of the Campaign Cabinet for our Campaign To Preserve and Renew. After Roy’s passing, Kathleen made a generous gift to the campaign to sponsor the creation of the Shalom Garden in his honor. “As we building this garden we are aware of Roy’s abiding presence and his love of La Casa de Maria,” she said during the dedication ceremony.
The Shalom Garden will be the new site for La Casa’s annual interfaith Sukkot celebration, which has been hosted at La Casa for the past five years in conjunction with the Montecito Shul, and will also be available for other community celebrations and assemblies.
“We look forward to having the Jewish communities who come to La Casa use it for their gatherings, prayers, rituals and celebrations,” said Director Stephanie Glatt. “And we hope that new communities will find this a home honoring their tradition.”
Many thanks to Kathleen Barry for her support of this exquisite new garden!