The highest point in The Bahamas and ARCHITECTURAL Masterpieces make the southern bahamas an enlightening experience.

Mount Alvernia, also known locally as Como Hill, is the highest point in The Islands of The Bahamas at 206 feet (63 meters). 

It was named Mount Alvernia by Monsignor John Hawes, a Roman Catholic priest. It is said to be reminiscent of La Verna, the hill in Tuscany that was given to St. Francis of Assisi as a place where he could peacefully contemplate, and is reportedly where Assisi received the Wounds of the Cross. Monsignor John Hawes, known to Cat Islanders as Father Jerome, was a skilled architect and sculptor – a self-described contemplative and admirer of St. Francis of Assisi. 

Using local stone, Father Jerome built The Hermitage on the peak of Mt. Alvernia in 1939, a small medieval monastery where he could get away from the world. St. Peter's and St Paul’s Catholic Church, Clarence Town, Long Island is another example of his fine work. This Catholic church which has twin towers is located on a very high hill overlooking the harbor and three large cays. The twin 40 ft towers (which can be climbed to view 360 degrees) are well-known landmarks on Long Island guiding mariners into the Great Clarence Town Harbour. The magnificent alter, back lit by sunlight, casts inspiration from its brilliant masterpiece design.

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Although his masterpiece in Cat Island is arguably his most locally known piece of architecture, Father Jerome is also known for building and designing cathedrals and convents throughout The Bahamas and his native Australia. He died in 1956 and is said to be buried, at his own request, in a cave located beneath the hermitage at Cat Island on the site of The Hermitage.

J Taylor
Between Devotion and Design: the Architecture of John Cyril Hawes 1876-1956

Cat Island is an ideal location to visit while on charter. Check out our Destination page or contact your preferred yacht charter broker and ask for Yacht Sweet Escape!


(Photo’s taken on charter February 2019)

MARCH 2019

Ghandi Kane