Visit

Visit

Offering welcome and hospitality to guests is a fundamental aspect of our monastic tradition. We believe that all people who come to the monastery are endowed with the dignity and value of Children of God and are to be welcomed as Christ, as a gift sent to us by God. In the section below you will find ways of sharing in our contemplative space and prayer, perhaps as a retreatant or as a valued day visitor. God bless you, we hope to see you soon!
Retreats

Silence will unite you to God...In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent.  But then from our very silence is born something that draws us into deeper silence.  May God give you an experience of this ‘something’ that is born of silence.
                                                                                                       Isaac of Nineveh
                                                                                                       7th Century Syrian Monk

  • Weekend/Week Self-directed Retreat

    Why come to a monastery on retreat?  Most people in our Western culture either don't hear or don't heed the call for spiritual retreat.  We're busy.  We have commitments.  We have demands.  We have much to do.  And when we do get a break, there are certainly destinations more comfortable, convenient and distracting than a Trappist monastery.  There's no swimming pool here.  There's no TV.   Hopefully, no cell phone.  The accommodations are simple.  Make no mistake: this is no resort.  This is not the place for a vacation.  So, why come?

    Guests come to New Clairvaux for a variety of reasons.  Some are facing questions of discernment.  Others are facing questions of healing.  Many come to renew or deepen their faith.  Some come from curiosity.  Others simple don't know why they came.  Regardless of the reasaons, your invitation is actually quite clear: you are invited to listen.  You are invited to a deep inner quiet and a profound active attention to God's presence and voice.  This quiet and attention form the heart of a self-directed retreat.  

    For those accustomed to directed retreats organized around specific topics and predetermined daily schedules, the self-directed retreat can be a bit disconcerting.  "What am I to do?  How do I spend my time?" are questions sometimes asked by those experiencing it for the first time.  This discomfort is understandable and the questions are worthy of reflection.  

    Guided by the light of the Divine inside of you, you may be drawn to read a specific book in the library, or write your thoughts and feelings in a journal, or talk with a monk or friend you happened to meet.  Perhaps you will be drawn to walk through the orchards or take a well-needed nap.  You may simply feel the call to sit in attentive silence.  Whatever opening may occur for you, know it is not an accident.  Regardless of why you came here, your silence and your deep listening will allow you to hear God's voice in a new way.  As the Psalms challenge us: Be still and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).

    Self directed retreats are available weekdays Monday afternoon through Friday morning or weekends Friday afternoon through Monday morning throughout the year. 

  • Day of Reflection Retreat

    Day of Reflection retreatants register in advance to spend a day on retreat at the abbey.  If you wish to spend a day of reflection at the monastery, please call (530) 839-2434 to make arrangements or you may register using the online "Reservations" form (fill-in required information and select option "Day of Reflection" under Retreat Length Preference).  Visiting hours:  daily 6 am - 8 pm *(Gates locked at 8 pm).  For more details, please send your questions reservation@newclairvaux.org.

  • Long Term Guest Program

    This program is for men and women desiring a retreat that extends beyond the allotted three to four day retreat experience. The program requires a commitment of at least two full weeks (14 days).  Normally it is self-directed but spiritual direction is available upon request. Monastic enclosure at this time only allows male participants to join the monks’ choir if they desire.  Arrangement can be made to share in the daily manual labor if the retreatant requests.  Those interested may request an application form the program director at chrischeney@newclairvaux.org.  We ask that you submit the names and contact information of three references.   We will contact them. Physical/mental good health, physical mobility, and financial stability are requisites for approval to the program. The abbot has final approval on all applicants. Only one participant is allowed at a time. 

Day Visits

Day Visit to the Monastery

Many individuals who are interested in the monastery often ask if they are welcome to stop by the abbey.  If you find yourself in the area, know that you are welcome!  You may like to begin by visit with a stop at our Welcome Center to find out more about us.  We do ask that you refrain from having picnics on the property so as not to disturb the contemplative atmosphere of the grounds.    

Visiting hours:  6 am - 8 pm daily *(Gates locked at 8 pm)

During your visit we encourage you to stop by the following key places:

  • Welcome Center & Bookstore/Gift shop; Koi pond & St. Cecilia's Chapel (located behind the Welcome Center)

  • Wine Tasting Room (Open daily 11:00 am - 5:00 pm):  For more information visit www.newclairvauxvineyard.com

  • Medieval Abbey Church:  Day visitors are welcome to attend Mass and Divine Office services at times as listed on the homepage (Note: Due to early hour Vigils is available for overnight retreatants only)

 

Retreat Reservations
Address
Preferred Retreat Dates
Do you have any unanswered questions, or any comments you'd like to leave?
How to Get Here

Directions:

On I-5: do not take South Street in Orland, but continue north to South Avenue.  Take the South Ave. exit at Corning. Drive about ten miles on South Ave. and, immediately after the second railroad track, turn left onto Rowles Rd. Then take the second left onto 7th St., drive back over the train tracks and follow the road past the large white cross.  Drive through the gate on your left and follow signs around the vineyard road, or park in front of the wooden gates and pass through walking gate on the right to the Welcome Center. 

On Hwy. 99: take Vina Road to 7th St., drive over the train tracks and follow the road past the large white cross, continue around the bend then drive through the gate on your left and follow signs around the vineyard road, Or park in front of the wooden gates and pass through walking gate on the right to the Welcome Center. 

Public Transportation: There is no public transportation to the Abbey, but we can provide transportation to and from the Greyhound bus/ Amtrak station in Chico (about 30 min. from the monastery).

 

FAQ

We invite you to participate in services conducted in the abbey church.  You are welcome to join the monastic community in the singing of the psalms, be we ask that you do so quietly and in unison with the monks.  The acoustics of the church can make even moderately loud singing in the visitor's section a distraction for the monks in the choir.  We encourage visitors who are not Catholic to participate in church services to the extent they are comfortable.  We are only able to offer Holy Communion to those currently members of the Catholic Church.  Due to the early hour the prayer Office of Vigils (3:30 am) is open to overnight guests only.

St. Cecilia chapel is open at all times and you are invited to take advantage of the contemplative environment it offers.  The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle over the altar.  Please use the chapel rather than the Abbey Church for your personal prayer.  In addition, we offer a silent meditation room, located on the north side of the chapel.  We ask that you please remove your footwear upon entering the room.  In inclement weather feel free to place your shoes on the inside shelving located behind the meditation room door.  

Located in the Welcome Center, the bookstore has a variety of books, gifts and cards.  Taxes are already included in the purchase price.  You may place your payment in an envelope available in the bookstore and insert it in the mail slot of the Guestmaster's door, or make a purchase with credit card.   

 

We love pets, but are only able to allow accepted ADA-certified aid dogs on the monastery grounds.  Thank you for understanding.

 

In order to preserve the contemplative atmosphere for all our guests we do not allow picnicing on the grounds.  However, there are some nice sites for picnics just down the road from us we can recommend, such as Woodson Bridge State Recreational Area: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=459 and the Tehama County River Park: http://www.co.tehama.ca.us/tehama-county-river-park  

Reservations are necessary; we are often booked up as much as six months in advance. 

Time frames for scheduling retreats are weekdays with an arrival Monday afternoons and a departure Friday morning; or weekends, with an arrival Friday afternoon and a departure Monday morning.  The weekend has a bit of flexibility as some guests depart on Sunday.  We receive guests on Monday and Friday afternoons only.  Longer retreats can be arranged with permission. 

We have 6 single guest rooms and 2 rooms for married couples.  Each guest room is private with its own bathroom. 

Arrival time is no later than 5:00 pm.  Please notify us if you wish to cancel or make a change in your reserved dates to allow those on standby to make a retreat.

Check-out time is 10 am.  Please place the used bedlinens and towels into the pillowcase and leave at the foot of the bed.  Please place your room key and any donations you may care to make for your stay in the mail slot of the Guestmaster's door in the Welcome center.  

There is no public transportation to the abbey, but we can provide transportation for those on overnight retreat to and from the Greyhound bus/Amtrak station or the Sacramento airport shuttle bus service drop-off location, both located in Chico, CA.   More information can be obtained by contacting the Guestmaster’s office.  Please notify the monastery in advance of when you expect to arrive in Chico, preferably at the time of making your reservations

St. Luke Guest Dining Room is available to retreatants at all meal times.  A Silent Room, located adjacent to the main dining room, is available for those wishing to maintain silence during meals.  You are invited to help yourself to all food in the hot plates, or in the dining room counter and in the guest refrigerator.  Regular tea and herbal teas are available in the kitchen.  Meal times are:

Breakfast: anytime until 9:00 am
Dinner (Lunch): any time between 12:00 and 1:30 pm
Supper: any time between 4:00 and 7:00 pm

Be aware that following the custom of the monks, the main meal of the day is the mid-day meal.  Usually the guesthouse fare reflects the monks’ vegetarian diet. Those on special diets are encouraged to bring their own food.  Unless you wish to share this food with other guests we encourage you to label each item with your name and retreat dates.  Peel-off labels and pen are provided in the kitchen.  Please rinse dishes and place in the dishwasher after meal.
 

We strongly encourage you to maintain a spirit of silence during your retreat.  We especially encourage you to observe the period of Grand Silence that extends from Compline, the last prayer of the day, until after Lauds in the morning.  Please, no playing of musical instruments anywhere on monastery grounds. Radios, iPod, or other personal music systems should be used with headphones. 

If you wish to talk with a monk for spiritual direction and/or confession, please contact the guestmaster.  Due to scheduling demands on the monks available to meet with guests, we cannot always fulfill all requests for spiritual direction, but we will try to meet as many requests as possible.  The monastery does not provide psychological or any other form of counseling.

We invite retreatants to participate in services conducted in the abbey church.  You are welcome to join the monastic community in the singing of the psalms, but we ask that you do so gently and in unison with the monks.  The acoustics of the church can make even moderately loud singing in the visitor's section a distraction for the monks in the choir.  We encourage visitors who are not Catholic to participate in church services to the extent they are comfortable.  We are only able to offer Holy Communion to those currently members of the Catholic Church.   For personal prayer outside the Hours of prayer in the Abbey Church, St. Cecilia’s chapel is available. 

The guest library is always open to retreatants and has an ample supply of contemporary religious and other books.   Please feel free to use this space for reading or quiet study.  Through an honor system, library books may be "checked-out" for use in guest rooms.  Please place all returned books on the counter in the library before you leave the monastery.  The monastery librarian will re-shelf all returned books.  

We strongly encourage retreatants to turn off your cell phone during your entire stay at the monastery.  If you must make or receive a call, please be mindful of how your use of the phone impacts the contemplative environment for you and for those around you.

We encourage you to wear modest and comfortable clothing during your stay.  Please refrain from any activities that could disrupt the prayerful environment.  Please, no sunbathing anywhere on monastery grounds.

The donations we receive from our guests allow us to keep the Guest House open and available for all.  Your generosity helps cover some of the costs for building maintenance, grounds maintenance, meals and general services in the guest area.  A suggested offering is $80 per night for those who can afford it, but our monastic tradition of hospitality invites you to leave what you can according to your means.  Any amount, however large or small, helps cover the costs.  

After unloading your luggage to your room, please park your vehicle in the guest parking area located on the south side of the large brick winery building.

Manual labor is an important aspect of monastic spiritual practice.  If during your visit you are interested in joining for some of our work, please contact the Guestmaster in the Welcome Center.