Mother Victoria and the nuns of Saint Barbara Monastery some 65 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, who had been evacuated as the Thomas Fire broke out late Monday, December 4, 2017, have returned to their monastery.

“I received word this morning from Mother Victoria that the sisters will be able to return to the monastery today,” His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin reported on Saturday, December 9.  “While there will be no running water or heat due to the lack of electricity, they are grateful that they and their buildings, including the recently completed chapel, were spared the destruction others have faced.  They expect there will be ash and other byproducts of the fire to clean but, and there is still considerable smoke in the air for now.”

As widely reported, fires have been moving rapidly during the past week, especially to the south of Santa Paula, and have already destroyed nearly 1000 homes and other structures near Los Angeles.

“I have not heard if any others from among the southern California clergy or their parishioners have been forced to evacuate or if any of their homes were destroyed,” added Archbishop Benjamin.  “The weather reports indicate that the Santa Ana winds will continue to drive the various fires throughout the coming week.”

Archbishop Benjamin and the monastic sisterhood are thankful for the prayers of so many during the past week, and request ongoing prayers in the days ahead.