SILVERADO, Calif., May 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The historic St. Michael's Abbey, a 33-acre campus nestled in the foothills of South Orange County, is up for sale now that its long-time residents, the Norbertine Fathers of Orange, are almost ready to move to a new home. The abbey has hired Justin Esayian of The Hoffman Company to handle the unique property sale.
The Catholic priests have shepherded the property for the past 60 years, building their religious community into an autonomous abbey, seminary and nationally recognized preparatory boarding high school for young men.
Founded in 1961 by seven priests who escaped Hungary after communist officials nationalized Catholic schools in 1948, St. Michael's Abbey now hosts nearly 50 priests, 35 seminarians and 64 secondary students. That exponential growth has prompted the abbey to expand its campus on a new 300-acre property seven miles away in Silverado Canyon.
The move is expected sometime in early 2021, which will open up this serene rural property with partial ocean views to the right buyers for a new purpose.
"We all are looking forward to this new chapter in our history, and the proceeds from this sale will help to support our ministry, social outreach and maintenance of our new campus," said Reverend Gabriel Stack, O.Praem., Ed.D, headmaster emeritus. "There are so many ways this incredible place could be put to good use with its existing facilities or reimagined as something completely different. We've already had interest from religious organizations, boarding schools, private colleges, residential developers and buyers looking for a retreat or educational center."
Roughly five acres of the property is developed with an abbey for priests and guests, a church with seating for 343 people, a dining hall and commercial kitchen, as well as a separate convent and chapel for the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary who have helped the Norbertine priests since 1977. Also on site is a seminary with classrooms and lodging, and a preparatory high school with dormitory, classrooms, offices, athletic field, an outdoor swimming pool and basketball court.
"Ideally, we can help the fathers of St. Michael's Abbey find a buyer whose timeline can be coordinated to coincide with their move to the new campus," said Esayian. "The property is truly one-of-a-kind. It not only captures the last of old rural Orange County, it's also within 10 miles of shopping amenities, entertainment and outdoor recreation, including state, regional and local parks."