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, he built The Hermitage on the peak of Mt. Alvernia in 1939, a small medieval monastery where he could get away from the world.
The way up the hill to the monastery is via a stone staircase on a steep rocky incline. You can see Father Jerome's beautiful and detailed hand-carved stone reliefs of the Stations of the Cross along the way, and the 360-degree view around the lush island from the top will be awe-inspiring.
Father Jerome is also known for building cathedrals and convents throughout The Bahamas, including on Long Island and New Providence. He died in 1956 and is said to be buried somewhere on the site of The Hermitage.