The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is a twin island state, just 7 miles off the coast of Eastern Venezuela. These two islands are the most southerly of the Caribbean Archipelago and feel the constant lapping of the waters of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
The Abbey of Our Lady of Exile is snugly nestled in the hills of the lush flora and fauna of Trinidad’s northern range six hundred and sixty feet above sea level. After the conquest of the Spaniards by Christopher Columbus in 1498 and the decimation of a large portion of the Indigenous peoples, the re-population of the islands drew from a wide spectrum: African slaves, East Indian indentured labourers, French land-owners, English aristocrats, Spanish conquistadors, Chinese labourers, Portuguese, Syrians, Jews, etc. With this potpourri, came an attendant array of customs, rhythms and belief systems, all intermingling with each other and drawing as well from the vestiges of the Indigenes. Although the British assumed political control in 1797, French was spoken in several quarters and Roman Catholicism held its own. Today English is the lingua franca. Hinduism, Islam, Protestantism, Pentecostalism, the Orisha Faith, the Spiritual Baptists and Roman Catholicism all co-exist, at times with a bit of syncretism, side by side with each other.