The Hermitage, Mt. Alvernia, Cat Island, Bahamas

by Shane Pinder on October 17, 2008

 The Hermitage sits atop Mount Alvernia in New Bight, Cat Island.  Mount Alvernia is the highest point in The Bahamas at a dizzying 206 feet above sea level!  The Hermitage was constructed by Father Jerome Hawes.  Father Jerome was a Catholic priest and a trained architect who lived from 1876 to 1956.  He spent the last 17 years of his life on Cat Island and in addition to constructing the Hermitage also constructed a number of other churches throughout the Bahamas include two in Clarence Town, Long Island.  The first was built by Father Jerome when he was an Anglican priest serving in Long Island and the second was constructed by him after his conversion to Catholocism.  

There is a small parking area at the base of Mount Alvernia and from there you have to hike to the top of Mount Alvernia to get to the Hermitage.  The path branches off in two directions.  The steeper path will take you past the Stations of the Cross also built by Father Jerome and up to the front of the Hermitage.  The other path is a longer walk but a gentler incline and will take you to the back of the Hermitage.    Among the striking things about the Hermitage is the diminutive size of buildings.  You marvel at the fact that Father Jerome lived in such a small space.

There are two good times for photography at the Hermitage.  At midday you can get excellent exterior shots of the Hermitage as well as shots including a portion of the building but also including the beautiful view of the surrounding sea.  Another good time for photography is at sunset when you can get good shots of the front of the Hermitage lit by the golden light from the sunset as well as shots of the sunset itself taken from the vantage point of Mount Alvernia.

This site should be a must see when you visit Cat Island.

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  1. Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Clarence Town, Long Island

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