Jackelyn Huerta

Jackelyn Huerta

Modified & Updated: 11 Oct 2023

Source: Gothepodcast.com

New Clairvaux Abbey, located in Vina, California, is a hidden gem steeped in history and divine tranquility. Nestled in the serene beauty of the Sacramento Valley, this abbey has a fascinating story to tell. From its humble beginnings as a Trappist monastery to its ongoing preservation and restoration efforts, New Clairvaux Abbey is a testament to the power of faith, perseverance, and community. With its breathtaking architecture, lush gardens, and deep spiritual significance, this abbey has become a beacon of peace and contemplation for visitors from all walks of life. In this article, we will uncover eighteen unbelievable facts about New Clairvaux Abbey, shedding light on its rich past and highlighting the unique features that make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and those seeking a moment of tranquility in today’s fast-paced world.

Table of Contents

New Clairvaux Abbey: A Hidden Gem in California

Nestled in the picturesque town of Vina, California, lies the enchanting New Clairvaux Abbey. This historic landmark holds a rich history and boasts breathtaking architecture that will leave visitors in awe. From its humble beginnings to the fascinating tales within its walls, here are 18 unbelievable facts about New Clairvaux Abbey.

The Abbey’s Origins Date Back to the 12th Century

Believe it or not, the roots of New Clairvaux Abbey trace back to the 12th century in the Cistercian Order of monks. The original abbey, known as Santa Maria de Ovila, was built in Spain and was dismantled brick by brick and shipped to California in the 1930s. Talk about a remarkable journey!

It Took Decades to Reconstruct the Abbey

Renowned architect William H. Jordy spearheaded the task of reconstructing the abbey at its current location, a process that spanned several decades. From carefully cataloging each stone to meticulous craftsmanship, the restoration of New Clairvaux Abbey is a testament to dedication and passion.

The Abbey Houses a Priceless Collection of Medieval Manuscripts

Within the walls of New Clairvaux Abbey lies a treasure trove of knowledge. The abbey is home to an impressive collection of medieval manuscripts, some dating back to the 12th century. These ancient texts offer a glimpse into a bygone era and attract scholars and history enthusiasts from around the world.

New Clairvaux Abbey is Still Active Today

While the abbey is a historical site, it remains a thriving spiritual community. The Cistercian monks who reside here continue to live a life dedicated to prayer, work, and contemplation, just as their predecessors did many centuries ago.

The Abbey’s Church Rivals European Cathedrals in Grandeur

Prepare to be astounded by the beauty of the New Clairvaux Abbey Church. Its stunning architecture and intricate details rival those of grand European cathedrals. From its towering ceilings to the exquisite stained glass windows, every corner of the church is a masterpiece, truly a sight to behold.

Thomas Aquinas College is Located on the Abbey Grounds

In a unique partnership, New Clairvaux Abbey shares its grounds with Thomas Aquinas College, a Catholic liberal arts college. The serene and peaceful atmosphere of the abbey provides an enriching environment for students to grow academically and spiritually.

The Winery Will Delight Wine Enthusiasts

As if the abbey’s history and architecture weren’t enough, it is also home to a winery. New Clairvaux Vineyard produces a variety of award-winning wines, including Chardonnay, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy wine tastings and tours while soaking in the beauty of the abbey’s surroundings.

New Clairvaux Abbey is a Tranquil Retreat

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful getaway or a spiritual retreat, the abbey offers tranquility like no other. The beautifully maintained gardens, serene walking paths, and quiet cloisters provide the perfect setting for reflection and rejuvenation.

The Abbey Hosts Spiritual Retreats and Events

New Clairvaux Abbey is not just a place to visit; it also hosts various spiritual retreats and events throughout the year. From silent retreats and meditation workshops to guest speakers and concerts, there are numerous opportunities to delve deeper into your spiritual journey.

Elegant Guesthouses Welcome Visitors

For those looking to extend their stay, the abbey offers charming guesthouses where visitors can experience the tranquil ambiance and hospitality of the Cistercian monks. Enjoy a peaceful night’s rest and wake up to the serene beauty of the abbey.

A Community Committed to Sustainable Farming

New Clairvaux Abbey embraces the philosophy of sustainable farming. The monks tend to vineyards and orchards, practicing organic methods and respecting the environment. They also produce honey, olive oil, and various fruits and vegetables, showcasing their commitment to the land.

Visitors Can Explore the Abbey Museum

Within the abbey complex, visitors can explore the museum, which houses artifacts and exhibits showcasing the history and heritage of New Clairvaux Abbey. From religious artifacts to insights into the restoration process, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the abbey’s past.

Don’t Miss the Rare Gothic Chapter House

One of the most remarkable features of New Clairvaux Abbey is its Gothic Chapter House. This rare architectural gem is a replica of the original Chapter House in Spain and houses the abbey’s manuscripts and sacred texts.

The Abbey is a Peaceful Haven for Nature Lovers

Beyond the abbey’s walls, nature lovers will be delighted by the surrounding beauty. The abbey is encompassed by lush vineyards, rolling hills, and serene landscapes, making it a perfect destination for photographers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Abbey Offers Educational Workshops and Retreats

As part of its mission to share knowledge and inspire others, New Clairvaux Abbey hosts educational workshops and retreats. From calligraphy and iconography to spiritual retreats and lectures on monastic traditions, there is a wealth of educational opportunities to explore.

The Abbey’s Architecture Tells a Story of Resilience

Every stone and arch in New Clairvaux Abbey tells a story of resilience and perseverance. The abbey’s journey from Spain to California and its restoration stand as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Cistercian Order and the dedication of those involved.

New Clairvaux Abbey Leaves a Lasting Impression

Whether you’re captivated by history, art, spirituality, or simply seeking a serene escape, New Clairvaux Abbey leaves a lasting impression on every visitor. Its rich heritage, architectural marvels, and commitment to community make it a truly remarkable destination.


In conclusion, New Clairvaux Abbey is a truly remarkable landmark with a rich history and breathtaking architecture. From its origins in France to its relocation and restoration in California, the abbey stands as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of its founders and supporters. Its stunning church, serene gardens, and tranquil surroundings make it a haven for visitors seeking peace and spiritual rejuvenation.

Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply seeking a moment of tranquility, New Clairvaux Abbey is a must-visit destination. Explore its ancient secrets, marvel at its incredible craftsmanship, and let the serenity of the abbey envelop you. You’ll leave with a renewed sense of wonder and a deep appreciation for the enduring legacy of this extraordinary landmark.


1. What is the history of New Clairvaux Abbey?

The history of New Clairvaux Abbey dates back to the 12th century in France. It was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and held significant religious and cultural importance.

2. Why was New Clairvaux Abbey relocated to California?

New Clairvaux Abbey was relocated to California in the early 20th century. It was dismantled and shipped overseas due to political and social unrest in France.

3. How was New Clairvaux Abbey restored?

The restoration of New Clairvaux Abbey was a labor-intensive process that involved meticulous reconstruction and preservation of the original architecture. Skilled craftsmen and experts worked tirelessly to restore the abbey to its former glory.

4. Can visitors explore the abbey’s interiors?

Yes, visitors are welcome to explore the interiors of New Clairvaux Abbey. There are guided tours available that provide insights into the abbey’s history, architecture, and religious significance.

5. Are there any special events or activities hosted at New Clairvaux Abbey?

Yes, New Clairvaux Abbey hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, retreats, and spiritual workshops. Check their website or contact the abbey for information on upcoming events.