- REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Beer sales have helped a monastery in Northern California raise funds needed for rebuild works, according to new reports out this week.
The restoration work needed at the Santa Maria de Ovila monastery will take decades long to complete in the Sacramento Valley town of Vina. However, the costly project has already now had the first stage completed - with the Chapter House of Ovila up and standing thanks to funds raised until now, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
It has been reported that the former Trappist monastery was bought by newspaper magnate William Randolph in the 1930s. he decided to import the monastery from Spain onto an estate he planned to build in California. However, even though he had plans to use parts of the monastery for an indoor swimming pool and changing rooms, the estate was never completed.
After ditching the project the monastery was donated to the city of San Francisco. However, the dismantled building lay forgotten for more than 60 years in Golden Gate Park as the funds were never in place to complete its restoration and rebuilding.
It is said that Father Thomas X. Davis' attention was taken by the remains when he first arrived in S.F. in 1955 and he helped begin the campaign to bring the rebuilding work to Vina.
After much petitioning, the city of San Francisco finally agreed to give the remains to the abbey, and the first stage of the restoration and rebuilding project was completed using millions of dollars raised by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has raised the funds in part by creating a series of "Ovila Abbey" ales inspired by Belgian Trappist monks - famous for their beer making.
$7 million has been raised by the brewing company and the monks over the past 12 years, which has finally paid off with the completion of the Chapter House of Ovila recently.
A further $2 million is needed to complete the restoration project and to install the proper window glass, floors and power needed.