An Overview

 

Lebh Shomea (pronounced in Hebrew "lev show-mae-a") is a Christian community of men and women under the auspices of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Our lifestyle is contemplative-eremitical.

Everyone at Lebh Shomea - guests included - participates in the contemplative-eremitical life of the House of Prayer. Moreover, there are hermits living in permanent hermitages situated at remote sites on the property.

Guests who share our desert silence for indefinite periods are welcome year ’round. With the exception of meals and the Celebration of the Eucharist each day, there is no predetermined schedule, no imposed structure, only the freedom and creativity of solitude. All guests are invited to share in our daily Eucharistic Celebration, and we are always available to listen heartfully to anyone seeking spiritual direction. One of the few more structured programs that we do offer is an Individual Desert Experience of forty days and forty nights.

The Chapel of the Little Children

The Chapel of the Little Children
is used principally for week-day Eucharistic Celebrations.

Lebh Shomea is not only a place of prayer and a community of prayer, but also a school of prayer with emphasis on the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures as well as on the spirituality of the great masters of Eastern and Western mysticism. We offer the resources for study and research in virtually every area of Christian and Oriental spirituality. Each of our guests has the option of private study.

Lebh Shomea’s air-conditioned library contains some 30,000 volumes of writings by hundreds of spiritual authors, often in their original languages. The library comprises a number of specialized sections, for example: Biblical, Middle-Eastern, Byzantine, Russian Orthodox, Church and World History, Christian Antiquity, Oriental and Judaic Studies. The House of Prayer, furthermore, subscribes to over sixty periodicals, magazines and newspapers.

photo of The Big House

The “Casa Grande” or “Big House”
was the home of Sarita Kenedy East
and the headquarters of the sprawling Kenedy Ranch.
It contains nine private rooms and baths, our library, dining facilities, etc.

Lebh Shomea is part of the Sarita Kenedy East estate. Our portion of her bequest comprises the Kenedys’ former ranch headquarters, ten acres of beach property on Baffin Bay and 1,100 acres of South Texas wilderness. Accommodations for Lebh Shomea’s guests, both in the Big House and in solitary dwellings, are spread over approximately 100 acres. There are some thirty buildings on the property, including hermitages, greenhouses, barns, workshops and garages. We can accommodate up to twenty-five guests at a time. Nature trails meander through 1,000 acres of rugged brush country laced with sand dunes, oak motts, mesquite groves and towering palm trees. The section of the former Kenedy Ranch on which Lebh Shomea is located is called “La Parra,” Spanish for “grapevine,” because of the abundance of wild red grapes in the vicinity.

Photo of solitary dwellings

Three of our seventeen solitary dwellings for guests
nestled among mesquite trees and young palms.

The climate of the area is semi-tropical. March through October is warm to hot, often quite arid. Yet, there are occasional rains during spring and fall. November through February ranges from cool to cold with periodic fog and drizzle. trong north winds, called “Northers,” sometimes plummet temperatures to near freezing. Humidity can be high any season.

We suggest casual, comfortable attire and rain gear. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, cotton shirts and slacks or Bermudas are appropriate for warmer weather. Sweaters, heavy jackets and other warm clothing are suitable for fall and winter.

Since there is no outdoor lighting, we recommend that guests bring a flashlight. Guests who want to hike through the nature trails in the woods may wish to equip themselves also with walking shoes or boots, sunscreen and insect repellant. We furnish bed linens and bath towels, but not personal soap or detergent. Many guests find an alarm clock useful.

Guests at Lebh Shomea are asked to donate the usually suggested stipend to help defray room and board expenses.

Map

Lebh Shomea is located approximately sixty miles south of Corpus Christi.  Guests coming by car turn due east at the blinking light which marks the junction of the town of Sarita and U.S. Hwy 77, five miles south of Riviera.  After the turn at the blinking light, there is a four-mile drive to a guarded ranch gate.  For entrance through the gate, guests must make reservations at the House of Prayer prior to arrival.  Lebh Shomea is located some two miles further on, veering right at the fork in the road.  The nearest commercial airport is in Corpus Christi.  The Valley Transit Bus Line has daily “flag-stop” service to Sarita.  Ordinarily, guests are asked to arrive at Lebh Shomea between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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