10 May 2010

St. Joseph's Hill of Hope—City of God, Part 2

This is a follow-up to one of the first posts on this blog, back in summer 2008, about St. Joseph's Hill of Hope—City of God, the breakway grop from the Roman Catholic Church that has operated since 1972 on a 440-acre compound just north of Carbon Canyon along the borders of the counties of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino.

Notably, the news of the death of the group's leader, Frances Marie Klug, was not even reported in the local newspaper, the Chino Hills Champion, until some five months afterward.  Klug died on 15 November 2009 at age 88 and her Orange County Register obituary is an interesting one. 

It started with "not just another ordinary person, the world has lost a real treasure of a jewel."  Moreover, the tribute offers that "Frances Marie Klug was a True Mystic chosen by God for this time in history" and that "as God's Chosen Instrument [note the caps], it is through Mother Frances that God gave the world a Great Miracle."  Noting that 28 July 1967 was the date in which Klug announced the "Miracle of St. Joseph" that gave rise to her break with the Roman Catholic Church and the creation of her own sect, the eulogy stated that "from the moment of her conception, Heaven was preparing her for this particular time" and that "for over forty-two years, God and All of His Angels and Saints in Heaven have been speaking through this small and quiet woman.  Indeed, the writer of the tribute went on to say: "God said: 'This Miracle is Communication to the whole world of mankind, through the Soul of one living human being that follows Our Directions at any given time.'"  As such, Klug was, the explanation continues a "Victim Soul," subject to communication with God at all times.

After developing her organization through her home and then a rented facility, Klug received divine instruction:  "As time passed, God asked that a Basilica be built in honor of The Holy Trinity.  Without any funds on hand, Heaven directed her to purchase 440 acres of land in Brea, California.  This accomplished, Heaven began describing many more edifices to be built on the land, and the project grew to be a 'City of God.'"  Even though, the statement continued, "God invited men to donate their time, talents and money to build this City for Him," the Roman Catholic Church forbade its congregants to donate to Klug's ministry and, "thus, the City God and [sic] has not been built."   The tribute then turned to the "media" and the fact that, "although Mother Frances was very gracious to them . . . most of the press was never kind to her, lacking honesty, truth and justice."

The obituary's author then stated that Cardinal Luigi Raimondi, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, launched an investigation on Klug and her organization, sending Father Sylvio Masanti to do the work.  Accordingly, both Masanti and Raimondi, the explanation goes, were believers in Klug's authentic vision.  Additionally, the tribute stated, Klug had an audience with Pope Paul VI "and had received Holy Communion from him at a Canonization Mass on an earlier visit."

The only indication of what the St. Joseph's Hill of Hope—City of God organization might do now that Klug has died is in the statement thatr, in addition to forty-seven volumes of published "Stories from Heaven," issued by her during her lifetime, "many more are in preparation to be published" and that "Saint Jospeh's [sic] Hill of Hope will serve as a base to continue the publication and distribution of these 'Stories from Heaven."  Klug, whose husband, Robert, a longtime insurance agent, died some years ago, is survived by two sons and a daughter.  One online commentator, without specifying how her knew, claims that the daughter, Roberta, will be leading the organization.

As to the statements about Roman Catholic hierarchy support and belief in Klug's organization, there is a 1981 statement of position issued by Cardinal Timothy Manning, Archbishop of Los Angeles, and also signed by the bishops of the dioceses of Orange and San Bernardino.  In it, it is declared that "this organization, its properties, its activities and its teachings are independent of the Roman Catholic Church, its jurisdiction and its favor."  On top of this, "financial or moral support of this organization by Catholics cannot be construed as support of the Church."  Additionally, the document continued, "the President of 'St. Joseph's Hill of Hope—City of God' enjoys no commission from the Church to teach, counsel, or conduct retreats."  More specifically, "revelations and teachings identifying St. Joseph with the Blessed Trinity and obliging Roman Catholics to build the 'St. Joseph's Hill of Hope—City of God' are not acceptable to the Church and are rejected by us, the authentic teachers of the People of God, in line with our authority and responsibility."

In addition, there is a "theological assessment of the organization's materials as given out at a November 1979 retreat, signed by Monsignor Joseph Pollard of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in December 1980.  Pollard judged these materials to be "of a mostly undeveloped nature" and that while some "are of a traditional and pious nature" there were others that "are of an heretical and questionable nature."  Pointdly, Pollard offered that the documents ventured away from the direction of the Second Vatican Council.  Note that Klug broke away from the church in summer 1967, two years after the council concluded its business with widespread and significant changes to operations of the church.  Because of Klug's diversion from the Council and papal and other statements that followed, Pollard judged her materials to "reflect an imperfect and deficient theology, catechesis, and spiritual guidance."  As such, these documents did "violence to the Magisterium." 

By giving St. Joseph "the stature of a person of the Blessed Trinity" and even referring to him as God, Pollard observed that this "is erroneous in the extreme, undermining a truth crucial to the Christian revelation and necessary for salvation."  As to Klug's teaching that Catholics were obligated to build the "City of God" at the Hill of Hope site, Pollard noted that "Roman Catholics should be warned against building (i.e. propounding) such a doctrine and the edifices that will reflect it."  In his conclusion, Pollard stated that "the teachings of the organization  . . . are, in their key doctrine, heretical" and that "I find the 'revelations' to be spurious."

There is one other item of note:  a 1990 article in the Los Angeles Times titled "Self-Described Visionary's Hill of Hope Dream Ends."  The journalist, Jim Carlton, wrote that Klug "was unable to raise the $1.5 billion needed for construction" of the several components she hoped to erect at the site, including a basilica, chapels, hospital, monastery, convent and retreat house.  Of course, there was also the matter of "the necessary approval from local government agencies" to obtain permits for this massive project. 

Consequently, Carlton wrote, "the land has remained largely vacant."  More pointedly, the article noted that "her followers, once estimated at more than 1,200, have dwindled to less than 400, according to her husband."  One wonders, twenty years later, what the number is now.

Another problem was the devastating brush fires that torches thousands of acres in Carbon Canyon and nearby areas that summer "leaving piles of ash and blackened trees" on the site, though Robert Klug claimed that no buildings in the compound were damaged.

Still, the article announced that Frances Klug, then 69, was selling the site and "according to San Bernardino County planning officials," who then had authority over the development of the compound before cityhood was achieved for Chino Hills the following year, the asking price was $80 million.  Notably, Klug said in 1972 that she bought the property for $1.1 million, on a $100,000 down payment raised from donations.

As the article pointed out, "an air of mystery has surrounded the operation since it began, fueled in large part by the presence of roving security guards and barbed wire fences to keep out uninvited visitors.  The entrance, which lies on a dirt road in the city of Brea, is fortified by a huge green-and-white [now just white] gate topped by sharp points.  A shack with two guards sits behind the gate."  Robert Klug, his wife declining to speak to the Times, explained that "we have been harassed by the local vandals.  We have had the police out here dozens of times.  Several months ago, we caught half a dozen punk kids and they were arrested for trespassing."

Despite the listing, there were, of course, no takers and the organization has continued on for, to date, twenty more years.  It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for St. Joseph's Hill of Hope—City of God.


Craig said...

Hi my friend! You are amazing in your abilities in obtaining and investigating information! Kudos to you! I have searched many times to find out more about this "Catholic Cult", but my efforts have proved mostly fruitless. BTW... you can see the complex on Google Earth. I looks like there are around 3 or 4 buildings, and a large parking lot. Also, a hill top with a very strange "track". Not sure what that is all about! Also, do you know if the guards at Tonner Canyon RD off of grand (over by the "lake") near diamond bar are part of this contingent?

Great work. Thanks for the info!

Paul said...

Hello Craig, thanks for the comment. On the guards in Tonner Canyon, those are from a private security company hired by the City of Industry to patrol city-owned land stretching from near Chino Hills Parkway and Chino Avenue in Diamond Bar to the north to lower Tonner Canyon Road near the 57 Freeway in Brea to the south. Hope to have you back soon.

Anonymous said...

Why does City of Industry need to hire private security for this area? I always see them driving along the road by the lake, ready in their trucks. Why such protection for this area? Seems strange. I grew up off grand before the road to chino hills was built. I have heard many strange things about this area and would like to know if any info exists.

Why dont they develop homes in these areas? Is there anything else besides a church in these hills? Thanks

prs said...

Hello Anonymous, well, the City of Industry has private security contracted for all city buildings and property, including Tres Hermanos Ranch, which is, however, different that St. Joseph's Hill of Hope, just to clarify. At Tres Hermanos there are cattle and some structures and, evidently, this is what the city has the security for.

Information about the history of Tres Hermanos is hard to find. Two of the original owners, Harry Chandler and William Rowland, were prominent in their time and there's lots out there about them.

The City of Industry did, in fact, look into home construction not long after buying the ranch in the late 1970s. Since then, however, the focus has, it has been reported, been on a reservoir at the south end. There is a Tres Hermanos Conservation Authority, including Chino Hills and Diamond Bar, with Industry as an ex-oficio member, that is supposed to deal with future development, but little has been happening. You may have heard that, over the years, discussions of a bypass road from the 60 to the 57 through the canyon has been on and off.

There is the old Boy Scout camp area at the south side of Tonner Canyon, which Industry owns and which has been used for at-risk youth programs recently. Other than that, the cattle ranching, and, on the separate parcel at St. Joseph's Hill of Hope, the area is undeveloped.

Hope this helps and thanks for visiting and leaving the comment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. I guess there is no way to see the lake closeup, i've always been fascinated by it. Any tours?

Strange Question, maybe you can help.

Growing up in the 80's around Diamond Bar, i clearly remember a huge padlocked door on a hill (where the Country Estates homes) exist. This was visible from Country View Dr. On the sign it said something about "Radioactivity". Not trying to be all conspiracy theorist, just curious. Any clue on those areas as to why it would have been there.


prs said...

Hi Anonymous, the City of Industry leases the property around Arnold Reservoir and Tres Hermanos Ranch for running cattle, as you have seen. There aren't any tours offered there and it doesn't seem forseeable.

I don't know anything about a gate and sign on the hill where the Country Estates tract is now located nor about what may have gone on there before the subdivision and before the City of Industry purchase in 1978. My understanding, however, is that it was a cattle ranch. I suppose it depends on where the gate/sign was since Country Estates is a pretty large area.

Does anyone else know anything about this question?

Anonymous said...


To be more specific. If you were standing on Country View Dr off grand (near back gate to Country) and looking at the hills of the big homes, i guess what is the street called "Shotgun" if i remember correctly. That padlocked gate with the radioactive sign was there on that hill, somewhat towards the bottom part, covered in trees. I used to see the sign with binoculars from the house i lived in.

Thanks for the help.

prs said...

Hello Anonymous, not being familiar with the Diamond Bar area, I really can't add anything here. There was weapons testing over in the Chino Hills area near Soquel Canyon, conducted by Aerojet from the 1950s through the 1980s, but I have no idea whether anything similar was done at the area you are asking about. Maybe someone else has an idea?

Anonymous said...

My father became involved way back in the beginning years of this "cult?" I did go once and was present when this woman went into sort of a trance where certain saints were speaking to her...supposedly. This whole endeavor was a command by God and was to be completed by a certain date. Two reasons my folks pulled away; one was because if God gives a date for something to be completed, then it will be completed by that date. Of course, this huge project was never really started. Sitting on 3 counties and permission not given? Something like that.
The second reason is kind of funny. I guess there was some kind of stream, water or something that appeared? Not completely sure about that one, but my father said some of the apostles (that's what certain men involved there were called) were stealing the water and one of them was Peter. Ha ha...a quote from my Dad.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your blog today. You have answered nearly every question that I've had about the area.
Great reading, great information, and great history!
It's kind of sad to see how quickly things can change and nearly disappear within ones lifetime.
Thanks for making all of this available!

prs said...

Hello Anonymous, glad to know that you found the blog and also that the information has been interesting and useful to you. Come back again! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

If you want to know the truth and I mean the "whole truth" as to the apostasy involved in this then Google Rick Salbato at Unity Publishing. I have known Rick for years and he makes his living through the investigation of Marian apparitions, etc.
Dr. M

Anonymous said...

I read this blog u wrote and i am angry!!! I have known Frances Marie Klug my entire life and I know what she says is true. In a world gone crazy she was the greatest force of good I have ever known!! Her loss is deeply troubling but i know we must go on. I will ALWAYS support the HILL and i do not care what anyone says. She was special and good and i was there when revelations were being given and i know with all of my heart and soul that it was real. If people cant believe that God would give us a gift like that then that is a shame. Because u see i feel honored honored that he allows me to be a part of it. Please have respect for things u do not understand!!

prs said...

To Anonymous of 21 October, the entry I posted is informational. Looking again at it, I don't see any hint of opinion on my part. Actually, comments from others do that. So, the post was not a question of my trying to understand the Hill of Hope or one of respect (or disrespect, for that matter.) Rather, it's a part of the Canyon that I found interesting and worth discussing.

Anonymous said...

I have also been apart of the hill my entire life as well as my entire family. She was an amazing women with a gift so amazing and special, no words can discribe . I'm extremely happy to say I knew her as well as she is my god mother. I agree with the last comment don't be disrespectful towards something you have no idea about . Some people are just to closed minded to see the true beauty in all this and what a blessing it was. It's a shame really, you might want to look up the word cult before you start throwing that word around . Do you go to church ? Do you believe in god ? If you do that's fantastic , I thought we where all here for the same reasons , same goal . To get to heaven !!

prs said...

To Anonymous of 27 February, my use of the word "cult" came with a question mark. To repeat what I said to the last Hill of Hope follower who commented on this post--the discussions here are informational and factual. If you can find anything where I expressed a judgement about Hill of Hope, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

JOHN A CONE JR, Roberta, all you guys... Why the level 1 security? can be cheap posting guards out there all day long. Whats so important that you're trying to protect...the word of god? hah, thought thats why your're a registered cherity so you could give that out freely. Looks to me like your either afraid of man, which ain't saying much about your faith in God, or you're hiding something, which means all that money ani't working for God. Kinda Quoting a really good guy "Mr Haag, tear down this wall" or at least remove the secutitas! it would be alot easier to believe you if you didn't look so much like Chino State.

Anonymous said...

First off, kudos to the writer for digging up so much information for this article. I'm a longtime member of St. Joseph Church in Placentia (NOT affiliated with Hill of Hope) and personally remember Mrs. Klug and her armed guards showing up at our Sunday Masses back in the '60s. I laughed a few years ago when I read the Hill of Hope website when Mrs. Klug was still alive, as it implied she had the endorsement of the Catholic Church and also the priests at St. Joseph Church when she started with her "visions" in the 1960s. There was no support or endorsement from the Catholic Church. In fact, I distinctly remember St. Joseph Church Pastor George Conboy, and also Father Murray, eventually warning parishoners that the Catholic Church in no way sanctioned the claims of Mrs. Klug and that her group was in no way affiliated with the Church. Over time, as more and more of the claims of saints and Jesus Christ himself appearing regularly to her came out, they warned parishoners about getting involved, particularly since some of her saintly messages were conflicting with the official teachings of the Catholic Church. Mrs. Klug also claimed she was so holy that the saints told her she was not required to attend the full Mass (she would typically arrive halfway through services with her uniformed armed guards and leave right after Communion). About this, Fr. Conboy from the pulpit said, without mentioning her by name, that it was an affront to the sanctity of the Church for anyone to enter with armed guards and he stated did not want firearms in the church. He also added that no one had an exemption to only attend a few minutes of Mass and then leave, that a person must participate fully in the services to benefit spiritually from them, not pick and choose when to come and go. Over time, I noticed that Mrs. Klug and her guards eventually stopped coming to services at St. Joseph Church. I knew several fellow parishoners who fell for the claims hook, line and sinker. People really wanted to believe, but they were fooled into donating so much time and especially money. In the end, the Hill went nowhere.

Anonymous said...

This is a postscript to my personal recollections related to the St. Joseph Hill of Hope's early days that I wrote earlier today, 7/30/12. I should have concluded my final comments that read "...the Hill went nowhere" by adding the following key point: "... but it did result in 440 acres of land coming under the control of Mrs. Klug and lots of cash donations coming her way as well." And that, no one can dispute, not even the dwindling numbers of her most ardent supporters.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Here's some more info for you. I was going to type this on that blog, but I didn't want to create another fucking user name and password. I'm so sick of everything wanting a "username." Anyway....

I've had a regular and privileged "bird's eye view" of the "Hill" for a long long time. It is definitely a CULT compound. Interestingly, there is a dirt walk way up top that leads to a wooden gazebo like structure, painted Snow White. One can NOT see it from anywhere in Carbon Canyon. And NO, it's not the same gazebo as viewed from street level on the east side of the canyon road. That particular gazebo is on different property to where an ex-cop owned and was latter murdered (shot) by his ex-business partner at the gate entrance, off of the main canyon road. The "HILL's" gazebo im refering to is again, not visible from anywhere below in the canyon. Anyway, the cult's gazebo used to have a few cultists and Ms Klug (grand wizard cultist as I like to refer to her as) march up to it, where she claimed to have her LSD, self-enduldging trances and "visions." My opinion, Hill of DOPE was and still is a big scam enterprise.

Lastly, about the old "Tres Hermanos Ranch." It's no longer standing. I saw it standing in the valley that everyone is talking about in the blog. It looked like a beautiful retreat at one time. In fact, the place used to be a Hollywood celebrity retreat, back in the early years of the 40's and 50's. John Wayne was a regular to that place on weekends. The place was also at one time, part of the "Diamond Bar cattle ranch." This was all decades before the city itself was founded. Sadly, the house itself that was the center point of the ranch, was destroyed about 7 years ago. It's all ruins now and a care taker lives in the property in a trailer. He watches the pond (lake) off of Grand Ave, as people mentioned in the blog.

A few ridges south of the old ranch house, lies the remnants of the old TV series "F-Troop" fort. They used parts of that property to film the show there.

It's true, the city of Industry owns all of that property where the ranch house sat and where that pond is. A guy I work with is friends with the mayor of industry.

The old "Firestone Boy Scout reservation" still exists and it too sits in property owned by the city of Industry. Last summer I flew over it and saw a bunch of kids marching down one of the dirt trails, accompanied by Sheriff's Deputies and their marked vehicles. We spoke to the deps in the radio and they said It was an explorer scouts event, doing some kind of outdoor camp thing. But, the place is still used. They even have an archery range in there for the scouts. My dad told me that when he was a Brea cop in the 70's, they even had a small bore rifle range in there for scouts. Man has the times have sure changed.

The old "Aerojet" munitions testing area remnants was way far over on another ridge, away from the ranch. It's now virtually all gone and covered up by new housing and construction up there.

How do,I know all this stuff? Again, my buddy that's friends with the mayor, knows all the history behind "Hill of Hope" and more so of the Tres Hermanos Ranch area. I heard all about these places a few years back.

prs said...

Hello Anonymous of 5 July, thanks for the comment and all the info. There's lots of interesting and colorful history in Carbon Canyon and surrounding areas, as you've obviously found out!

Deb said...

You are correct Anonymous. My parents built a home at the "back gate" of the Country in 1973. At that time, the closest home to ours was on the Tres Hermanos Ranch where a family lived as "caretakers" of the ranch. There was a gate with a lock and a sign that did have "radioactivity" on it. I had forgotten completely about that. But I believe that sign was meant to "scare" people away and to maintain some privacy. Otherwise, I can't imagine why the caretaker family would knowingly live there or that the ranch would graze cattle for eating on the land. I think the sign was a ruse.

Also, I have just learned that the Spanish home was on the mound in the valley has been demolished. What a shame as that house was so magical and picturesque.

Does anyone know why that house was demolished?

Deb said...

In regards to the John Wayne visits to Tres Hermanos Ranch, there were MANY pictures of John Wayne hanging on the walls of the "working" ranch house where the caretaker's family lived.

prs said...

Hello Deb, thanks for the comment and I’ll leave this response where your other comment was left. Someone who has done quite a bit of research on Tres Hermanos told me a couple of years back that the house was torn down maybe 10 years ago. All I know is that the “three brothers”, who were oil operator W. B. Scott; former county sheriff and oil operator William Rowland of the Rowland Heights namesakes; and L.A. Times publisher Harry Chandler, built the house sometime around the late 1910s or perhaps shortly after. From the time the City of Industry acquired the property in the late 1970s, it was used by the lessees, but I don’t recall if the source I spoke to knew why the house was torn down. Hope this helps.

JMV said...

It is sad to see some of the negativity and vitriol directed toward The Miracle of Saint Joseph. I have believed in the Miracle since I was a youngster in the 1970s, and perhaps some commenters in this blog should consider that genuine Miracles do occur. Those of us who believe in the Miracle of Saint Joseph are ordinary, working class people who feel privileged to have been associated with Frances Marie Klug and to have witnessed the Revelations from the Divine.

There is a huge difference between genuine, miraculous events and cult activities. A true Miracle encourages holiness and virtuous living, but never forces anyone to believe in its validity. Those of us who support Saint Joseph’s Hill of Hope are people from all walks of life who feel incredibly blessed to have known of this great Miracle, and we do this of our own volition. For anyone who chooses not to accept the Miracle, we simply agree to disagree … no mud-slinging is necessary.

Some commenters seem to be “rooting” for this Miracle to be fake and for the supporters to be cult members. That couldn’t be further from the truth, as we are nothing of the kind. At this time, our goal is simply to make as many people aware of The Miracle of Saint Joseph as possible through distribution of “Stories From Heaven,” so people have the opportunity to read the Revelations and Teachings for themselves. For those who reject The Miracle, I would say it’s their loss but also their own decision.

Also, a True Mystic has a very serious responsibility, similar to others in history such as Saint Joan of Arc. A “True Mystic” is entirely different, and should not be compared to, self-made seers, fortune tellers and other phonies that you see on pop culture reality shows.

Anonymous said...

Not one person here has mentioned anything about the old NIKE silo's up in the ajjoining area. We used to try and hike up there as kids and were always chased out of there. It was a "known thing" in Brea that the government still occupied the area and the "Hill of Hope" was simply a front to keep people out of the military area up there ...why else would armed guards with machine guns patrol the bottom gates AND the perimeters legally within view of passing cars?

Its a nuke base people.

prs said...

Hi anonymous, the Nike missile silo site, known as LA-29, was actually further west in the hills above Brea off Central Avenue. The facility was operational from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, when the site was abandoned. See this Fort MacArthur Museum link: http://www.ftmac.org/lanike3.htm. See also this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PXQwlELBTI. Finally, there's a 2000 article in the LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2000/aug/07/news/mn-132.

William McConnell said...

Like everything else in the world,past and present,anything connected to or portrayed as a miracle is scoffed at.
Lourdes,Bernadette for examples.Eventually mankind learned the truth and they were accepted
I was with the Hill of Hope for almost 8 years. Why I am not there now is no concern of yours but I am compelled by my own soul to tell you that it is real.
Mrs. Klug was everything she claimed to be and more.
I was the recipient of many "elocutions" and instructions from her.
One day mankind will wake up out of its doldrums and she will be exonerated of all the accusations made against her.
God Bless her Holy Soul.
I am not afraid to name my name.
William McConnell of Rancho Cucamonga,California.