Starcross Founders, Sister Marti, Brother Toby, and Sister Julie walking to the chapel.

Our History

Ever since we came together as a community, we have endeavored to respond to the needs of those around us. We have always been especially concerned with helping children, but do our best to answer any call for help that comes our way. Our current projects include helping our neighbors in need, creating a safe sacred space for people interested in organic farming, and conserving our beautiful land.

The Early Years

How It All Began . . .

Tolbert "Toby" McCarroll, an attorney, Mary Martha "Marti" Aggeler, an executive secretary and flight attendant, and Julie DeRossi, a teacher and social worker, were all involved in the Human Potential Movement which flourished in San Francisco in the 60s and 70s. Toby founded a growth center, which sought to bridge humanistic psychology with Eastern and Western approaches to spiritual growth. Marti came on board and was soon facilitating popular groups working with art and dream journals. Julie showed up expecting to take up a few classes - and stayed!

In the 1970s, Brother Toby, Sister Marti, and Sister Julie each took monastic vows. 

We decided to form a community and move to the country. In 1976 Starcross was established on a rundown homestead in northwestern Sonoma County. Being city folk, the first few years were challenging. We managed, however, to plant a garden, open a one room schoolhouse, write books, and begin supporting ourselves with a Christmas Wreath business, all while maintaining a monastic schedule and raising many young foster children.


Starcross & the AIDS Pandemic

In 1981, the first cases of AIDS were reported. Soon, millions had been affected by the virus and it became a global pandemic. Before proper medicines were developed, many children were contracting the disease from their mothers and were left without much hope of surviving past their first few years of life. After seeing a news report on the living conditions some of these children were experiencing, we here at Starcross decided we could help.

We began taking in children affected by AIDS, caring for them, and giving them a loving home, as well as the medical care they needed. We expanded our efforts into Romania and Uganda after learning of huge numbers of children in need in those countries, as well.

Download document below to read further.

Christmas at Starcross

In the wake of the AIDS epidemic, the three founders of Starcross opted to take in babies infected with the disease for the purpose of providing them the joy and happiness all children duly deserve Christmas at Starcross follows these three deeply caring individuals from one Christmas season to the next, becoming a poetic tribute to life itself, however brief. Filmed in 1988-89.

Starcross & the AIDS Pandemic in Romania

Toby's Journey: 3 Segments

Following the journey of Brother Toby McCarroll and the decision of Starcross Community to go to Romania to support children during the outbreak of AIDS in the 1980s & 1990s.

The Journey Continues

Our story is winding and complex, stretching across the country and across the world. Throughout it all, we have striven to live peaceful and mindful lives.

We invite you to continue to explore our website and to find opportunities to connect, visit & volunteer with us.