Just an hour’s drive east of Tucson, and five miles south of Benson on the route to Tombstone and Bisbee is the agricultural community of St. David.

Shrine of the Holy Cross can be seen from Highway 80 as you drive south of St. David to Tombstone. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Like much of southeastern Arizona, this peaceful little village was booming when nearby mines were open. Today, you can enjoy browsing in antique shops or visit the Benedictine Holy Trinity Monastery.

Due to its height (70 feet), the Shrine of the True Cross is likely the first thing you will see when approaching the monastery along Highway 80. The second is the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. This beautiful little church is located across the road from the shrine but is hidden somewhat by vegetation.

Located on 132 lush acres curving along the wooded banks of the San Pedro River, the monastery features Trinity Library, meditation garden, Monastery book store and gift shop, Gallery Grinitas (art gallery and museum), and Benedict’s Closet—a thrift shop of real bargains.

And yes these are all open to guests and visitors.

Visitors who have their own recreational vehicles can stay in the Monte Cassino RV Park housed on the property. During their stay, they are invited to join the community in daily prayer and eucharist, plus other activities.

Half wilderness preserve, half religious retreat, the priory welcomes nature lovers and spiritual pilgrims alike. Both groups appreciate the Benedictine practice of silent reflection and meditation. This river oasis is blessed with a series of ponds fed by artesian springs where ducks and geese splash among the lily pads.

In 1992, the Bureau of Land Management helped dedicate a 1.3-mile bird sanctuary trail that borders along the property and the San Pedro River. In 1993 the monastery received the “Conservation Co-operator of the Year” award presented by San Pedro National Resource Conservation District.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is a beautiful little church located across the road from the shrine, © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With the beauty of the large, tree lined pond, visitors attain a peace and solitude that is difficult to find in a busy world. An Oriental garden is also a place for meditation. It has a small pond, oriental bridge and lovely flowers to lend its feeling of serenity.

La Fiesta Primavera held on the Mother’s Day weekend and Festival of the Arts held the second weekend in November are two day festivals filled with entertainment, booths with artists and crafters, and a wide variety of food. These events raise funds for the expansion and building.

For a complete 2011 calendar of events, click here.

Worth Pondering…
When you get to the end of all the light you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.
—Edward Teller

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If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

Leave a Reply


  1. Peggy Jarvis

    Is traveling I-10 west thro NM and AZ safe for camping along the way. Planning to take a trip out and have gotten some negative feed back on that area. you have any input for me.?

  2. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy Rex,
    How do you find all of these quaint and odd places?? When we make the trip west we’ll stop and see this one for sure… Joyce has a knack for finding monastaries, also..

    Thank you, for all of your articles!!!

    Smooth roads & balmy breezes!!!!!!!!!!