I collect old postcards of Washington and one evening as I sorted through cards from the 1920's I noticed many depicting a monastic grounds and gardens that I had to find. Realizing this site was not far from from my home I set a course for the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, the central focal point of Catholicism in Washington that includes the Catholic University of America, the National Shrine, Trinity University and many other sites. The Monastery proved an elusive quarry initially - it's tucked in a maze of residential streets on top of a hill overlooking the Catholic University. Finding it in the spring time was a extra stroke of luck - the gardens were overflowing with so many Tulips I thought I was in a Dutch wholesale flower market.
My favorite activity here is to stroll the Rosary Portico which surrounds the church and has 15 chapels commemorating the lives of Jesus and Mary. Each chapel contains artistic ceramic plaques bearing the Angelic Greeting in nearly 200 ancient and modern languages. The Rosary Portico is reminiscent of the cloister of St. John Lateran in Rome and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls - a portion of which appears in the right hand portion of the below photo.
The façade of the portico is decorated with early Christian symbols from the Catacombs. Attached to the rear of the church is the monastery, built in the monastic style of the late Romanesque.
Venture deeper into the grounds and explore the the replicas of shrines in the Holy Land, as well as a greenhouse.
The Monastery is located in the Brookland neigborhood of Washington DC, about 3 miles north of Union Station - The easiest way to find driving directions is to first locate the Catholic University of America.
From the Catholic University of America
Washington, District of Columbia 20017
Head northeast on Michigan Ave NE toward Monroe St NE
Turn right at Quincy St NE Destination will be on the left
At the Memorial Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the public is welcome to join in celebrating the Mass daily, and has special services for Christmas, Easter and other holy days.
FRANCISCAN MONASTERY OF THE HOLY LAND
1400 Quincy St., N.E.
Washington, DC 20017