Skip to main content

John Michael Talbot's Monastery Destroyed by Fire

5/3/2008 - 4:25 AM PST

Catholic PRWire


Little Portion Hermitage Chapel and Common Center Burn to the Ground

MARION, AR (MAY 3, 2008) - The home of The Brothers and Sisters of Charity founded by Dove Award-winning musician John Michael Talbot suffered a swift and vicious fire close to midnight on April 29. There was no loss of life, although members of the community, including Talbot, are suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

The fire began in the chapel and spread to the community's Common Center which housed the kitchen, offices, library, classrooms and dining space. All are a total loss. It is unknown how the fire started, but has been declared "no fault" by the fire inspector, says Talbot. Various awards melted in the heat or were burned along with the community archives, inventory and tour equipment. Living areas, studio and instruments were unharmed.

Talbot said that he was up late recording and heard some odd popping noises before noticing a glow in the windows of his hermitage home facing the chapel. He and his wife, Viola, ran to the chapel and found the hoses insufficient to fight the fire, already reaching high into the sky. Talbot said he pounded and screamed at the doors of the other hermitages. Some in the community went into the fire in an attempt to save valuables. Talbot said the smoke was thick and blinding and that all he could see was "black." When it became clear that the battle was lost, the brothers, sisters and families of the community watched the buildings burn while waiting for the fire department. Talbot says that the fire department put all of their resources into aggressively fighting the fire, but could not save the building. The wood construction contributed to the speed of the fire which burned the chapel to the ground in an hour.

At the wish of the community, Talbot's Canadian Tour will continue as planned beginning in Great Falls, Montana with a number of stops in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Tour dates and information may be found at his website, Founder, Spiritual Father and General Minister of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity since 1980, Talbot credits monastic life in the community as key for the Christian worship songs he writes and records.

While the damage is covered by insurance, donations are helping bridge the financial gap as the community awaits, reorganizes and prepares to rebuild, "this time in stone," says Talbot. Little Portion Hermitage is located in Berryville, in the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. For more information about the community, see


John Michael Talbot  AR,  US
Jim Cosgrove - Operations Manager, 870 559-3062


John Michael Talbot Fire


Catholic Organizations

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

1 - 1 of 1 Comments

  1. guevarr aven
    5 years ago

    I was deeply saddened of the fire. Please accept my donation of what I can afford. God bless us all.

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Colossians 1:15-20
He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born of all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
[Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth, serve ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:33-39
They then said to him, 'John's disciples are always fasting and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

September 4 Saint of the Day

St. Rosalia
September 4: St. Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, ... Read More