firstmassFrom ocean to ocean, the charism of Carmel was carried by fervent missionaries – and the ones to whom we owe the most are those Carmelites who came to California’s shores in 1602 as chaplains of the Don Sebastian Vizcaino expedition.

Image of Our Lady from the Vizcaino expedition
Image of Our Lady from the Vizcaino expedition

The captain graciously allowed the three Carmelite friars on board his flagship to name the area in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, since she was the patroness of the expedition and her picture was prominently enshrined in the bow of the lead ship. Also, the friars were struck with the similarity of Point Lobos to their Order’s original home base, Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. Thus a Carmelite identity was firmly established in this area at an early date but remained only as a tradition for many years until the coming of the Carmelite Nuns many centuries later.

The first Carmelite foundation in this country was established at Port Tobacco in Maryland in 1790, and our monastery traces its origin to this monastery.

Carmel of Port of Tobacco
Carmel of Port of Tobacco