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Carmelite Monastery
  • Carmelite Monastery
  • Carmelite Monastery Entrance
  • Carmelite Monastery Statue
  • Carmelite Monastery Statue
  • Carmelite Monastery Statue
circa 1917

The Carmelite monastery and its grounds are located on the surviving acreage of a 95 acre estate owned by William Len tin 1856. In 1866, for $48,500, James P. Pierce purchased 79 acres and the mansion Lent had constructed, and Pierce named New Park after his grandfather's country home in England. Judge Hiram G. Bond bought New Park and 34 acres for $25,000 in 1895, and he sold the estate in 1906. A portion of this estate was subdivided into the "New Park Subdivision" in 1908, and 5 years later the mansion on 11 acres of gardens, orchards and vineyards became the first home of the Carmelite Order.

This order is a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to a life of prayer. After originally coming to San Francisco in 1908, the order established its permanent monastery in Santa Clara. Its great benefactor was Alice Phelan Sullivan, whose daughter had entered the order in Boston. Through her brother, Senator James Phelan, and her son, Noel Sullivan, a portion of the 34 acre Bond estate was acquired as a location for the Carmelite monastery.

Construction of a permanent monastery, combining the traditions of the Carmelite Order of Renaissance Spain and the idea of a medieval monastery, began in 1916. The Monastery Chapel, consecrated in 1917, was designed by the distinguished church architect, Charles D. Maginnis. In 1925 he received the Gold Medal of Excellence by the American Institute of Architects and first prize at the Paris International Exposition for his design. It is considered to the most perfect example of Spanish Renaissance Ecclesiastical architecture in the New World. Today the tank house, 1860 carriage house and part of a large grape arbor are the sisters' residence.