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“A hidden beauty!”

Franciscan Monastery
Ranked #76 of 444 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The monastery in DC is the closest that some will get to visiting the Holy Land. The Monastery of Mount St. Sepulchre, designated a National Historic Site in 1991, has been a place of worship and pilgrimage for thousands of visitors since the church's dedication in 1899. Free tours are given daily of the catacombs, church, and gardens.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A hidden beauty!”
Reviewed April 18, 2014

I say hidden because I don't think there are any bus routes that lead to the monastery. Most people do not know about it or do not think to go there. My coworker told me about it years ago so I went there with my mother and we were very impressed. We took a tour of the catacombs--eerie but awesome and I highly recommend it! The friar who gave us the tour made us laugh with his wittiness. I think it was either Spring or Summer when we were there and the gardens had such pretty flowers. The second time I went there was in Winter with friends and although the flowers were few, it was still a nice visit. Whether you are religious or not, go there for mass or just to take a tour, it is a relaxing and beautiful monastery.

Visited December 2013
2 Thank Marale G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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151 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Corydon, Indiana
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Protestant in Awe”
Reviewed April 4, 2014

Earlier in the day, our family visited the Basilica and found it awe inspiring with a wealth of information. The Franciscan Monastery was equally breathtaking. The tour guide was very knowledgeable but spoke very quickly. The art, the windows, the sheer magnificence of the monastery is a fitting tribute to the faith. The catacombs are reproduction but do house some bones. The purgatory room is ominous but still beautiful. Well worth the trip

Visited March 2014
3 Thank bscott63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Not just for Catholics”
Reviewed March 23, 2014

This place was a wonderful surprise. The gardens are beautiful and incredibly relaxing.
The church itself is shaped in the form of a cross with the head of the cross being a recreation of Jesus tomb.
The main floor and the upstairs portions of the church can be discovered on your own.
To see the "downstairs" a tour guide is required. Don't fret, tours are about 30 minutes and worth the time. The guide had a lot of interesting information about the Monastery. NO, you do not have to be Catholic or religious to find something interesting about this place.
The "downstairs" is a replication of a small part of the Roman catacombs and a few shrine replications found in Israel.
The day we visited we toured with 40 Catholic boys from an all boys school in NY. In each main area they stopped to sing and pray. It made it a very different experience vs. if we had been in a regular tour group.
I am not sure I would go as far to say it is a "Must Do" for everyone, but I will say it is a nice break from the city rush. If you are Catholic or interested in religion in general, I definitely think you will enjoy the tour.
If you are going to take the metro - bring snacks and water. It is about a 10-15 minute walk from the metro. - Travelationship.com

Visited March 2014
1 Thank heather p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A must see!”
Reviewed March 20, 2014 via mobile

it is off the beaten path but well worth it. The inside and outside is both interesting and beautiful! The tour is a must, would not understood everything I was actually looking at!

Thank Jo Ellen N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Two nuns and a mini van”
Reviewed March 5, 2014

Peaceful, calm, walk into another world. Not just for Catholics. An institution in this town. A quiet secret garden, visit the grotto. Be intrigued and experience the weird and wonderful alters. There is a catacombs (recreation) but I don't think the public can go there. Very strange, because it portrays the last days judgement time and suffering souls. You Catholic parochial boomers will understand. But there are other aspects of the church that are weird and wonderful and spiritual. Very unique. Avoid the gift shop, unless you just want to support the site, which you should, but give a donation instead. The Franciscans are awesome look them up and understand their mission. Truly loving . Enjoy.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Denise B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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