A Few Good Monks for Seaside

Philip Bess makes the case for building a permanent community of Benedictines in the new urbanist resort.

"Seaside's makers appear mindful of sacred order, acknowledged explicitly in two ways. Scott Merrill's neo-American-Carpenter-Gothic Seaside Chapel ("non-denominational") and bell tower-a finely crafted Protestant-cum-Modernist sacred building, abstract but true to type-terminates Seaside's main north-south axis and fronts a public green; and there are plans for a cemetery just east of the Chapel, which when realized will do much to make Seaside's grounding in sacred order more visible. But Seaside still is not a day-to-day town, rather a resort town populated by a handful of permanent residents and many tourists. It remains at best a project that aspires to the fullness of urban culture and place."

"What would bringing Benedictines to Seaside accomplish?" Bess argues, "[t]he main achievement would be a permanent worshipping community in Seaside, the effect of which would be to animate Seaside's currently understated acknowledgement of the sacred order within which Seaside exists."

Thanks to Robert Steuteville

Full Story: A monastery for Seaside

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