Holy Cross Monastery is part of the Order of the Holy Cross (OHC), founded by the Rev. James Otis Sargent Huntington in 1884. An active reformer on New York City’s Lower East Side with an enduring sense of social responsibility, Fr. Huntington had both courage and foresight. He understood the role prayer and contemplation could play in sustaining social justice efforts. The earliest community moved to Maryland before settling in West Park in 1902. Today, our West Park monastery includes housing for guests and the Monastery Church of St. Augustine, in addition to the Monastic Enclosure.
Because Fr. Huntington’s vision as our community lived it was essentially Benedictine, we formally adopted the Rule of St. Benedict in 1984. Over the years, we’ve adapted the Rule to account for different settings as well as the demands of contemporary life. Our primary ministry is welcoming guests on individual and group retreats. We also operate a book and gift shop that features calligraphy, icons, incense, and photography created by our monks.
Iconography has taught me a lot about prayer and life. Initially I began this journey simply as a way to express myself creatively. It has now become a way in which I see the entire world; the many layers of holiness in each and every person. Iconography has become a way for me to be able to let down my guard. In a word, the practice of iconography is much like a vestibule for me. It’s the place where I enter into the presence of myself and God by taking off all of the layers of things I carry around in my heart , in my unconscious, my painful memories, my joys.