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A Triumphant Return

La Casa de Maria saw its 26-acre retreat property destroyed in the 2018 debris flow; so it called a timeout to get the rebuild right. The retreat's revival is coming in the not-too-distant future. Learn about what makes La Casa de Maria so magical and the potential reopening date.


A Historic Retreat

Originally the land that comprises the La Casa’s footprint was a part of an extensive oak preserve tended by the Chumash Native American tribe to produce one of their staple foods - acorn meal. In the Franciscan era, tradition has it, the padres built a small way station for missionaries traveling up and down the coast. During the Spanish land-grant era the land became a part of the San Ysidro Ranch, a 260-acre property that included a large citrus orchard. Two historic structures, a cottage and a barn, remain on the property from that era.


Between the 1920's and the 1950's there were several owners. E. J. Miley, a pioneer California oil developer, purchased the land in the 1920's to construct a Spanish revival style home, now the Center for Spiritual Renewal. He sold it to John de Blois Wacks 1932 after the stock market crash, Wack's completed the estate.


In 1942 Wack's put the property up for sale and Mother Eucharia, mother superior of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart in Los Angeles purchased the property as a novitiate site for young women entering the order.


The Center for Spiritual Renewal was founded in 1955 by the then Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for women entering the sisterhood. The center continues its legacy of commitment to spiritual growth as a retreat center, open to all faiths and disciplines, focused on providing a safe, peaceful and naturally beautiful environment dedicated to helping people reconnect and recharge physically, emotionally and spiritually.


Restore and Reflect


"It took 18 minutes to wipe out 50 years of work" said Cindy Swain, La Casa's director. After 14 of the 26 acres were destroyed in the 2018 Montecito debris flows La Casa put together an extensive rebuilding effort.

Rios, a Los Angeles-based design firm, was chosen to create our Architectural Master Plan. With expertise in sustainable design and construction. Rios partnered with La Casa to embrace the past as they envisioned the future.


Now after more than 3 years La Casa de Maria is about to make is debut. Click here to learn more about the reopening.


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